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John Fitch
Portrait of John Fitch

Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters
on the Western Waters, Containing the History
of the First Application of Steam, as a Motive
Power; the
lives of John Fitch and
Robert Fulton, Likenesses & Engravings of
Their First Steamboats ...

(Cincinnati, Ohio: James T. Lloyd,
1856). C,387,L73

John Fitch (1743–1798):

This metal craftman and inventor was born in Connecticut. He constructed four different steamboats between 1785 and 1796, demonstrating, in part, the feasibility of using steam to propel boats in water. In 1787, from New York, he obtained the exclusive privilege, for 14 years, of building and operating steamboats on all the waters of the state.

He published published a description of his steamboat in the December 1788 issue of The Columbian.

See: Drawing of Fitch's Steam Boat, 1787.

See: excerpt from Laws of New York, 1787

* BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION from:

Dictionary of American Biography,
New York State Library call number: A,920.073,qD55a