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Fulton

Fulton, Robert, an American engineer, born in 1765 at Little Britain, Pennsylvania, began life as a portrait and landscape painter, but, visiting England in 1787 to obtain lessons from Benjamin West, became influenced by the Duke of Bridgewater and James Watt. He was one of the first to experiment in the propulsion of vessels by steam, and he built the first practicable steamer in 1807. In the meantime he had also devoted his attention to submarine boats and torpedoes. He exhibited one of the former at Brest in 1801, and subsequently in England, and some of the latter were used against British vessels in the war of 1812, but without much success. Fulton, who had returned to New York in 1806, designed, and, in 1814, began to build the first war steamer. He died in 1815.