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Steam-powered boat. Illustration of the steam boat Cleremont on the Hudson river in 1807. This first commercial paddle steamer was designed by Robert Fulton (1765-1815), US marine engineer. Fulton made his first money as a painter of miniature portraits, in 1787 moving to England to study under Benjamin West. His thoughts then turned to engineering, and he designed canal boat equipment and later a torpedo-carrying submarine. His obsession with boats led to his first steam- powered paddle-wheel driven vessel. Back in America by 1806 he developed the idea, resulting in the first commercial paddle steamer services using the Cleremont on the Hudson River in 1807.
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