Related Information
Robert Fulton
Portrait of Robert Fulton

From the original painting by Chappel

Robert Fulton (1765–1815):

Robert Fulton was an artist, civil engineer, and inventor, born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Initially, he supported himself in Philadelphia painting miniatures. He went to London in 1786 to study art but became interested in engineering projects.

In 1796 he published A Treatise on the Improvement of Canal Navigation, with illustrations he himself had drawn. Believing that if he could develop a weapon that could destroy warships, all the nations, seeing that navies were highly vulnerable, would abandon war and an era of freedom and trade and peace would result. Thus, he experimented with torpedoes and submarine mines, trying to sell his ideas to the governments of England, France and the United States.

While in France he met Robert R. Livingston.

See: Fulton and Livingston's Steamboat.

See: Two letters written by Robert Fulton in New York State Library's collection.



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