SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In 1707, Denis Papin (1647-1712), French physicist and steam engine pioneer, built a paddle-steamer powered by a piston-in-cylinder steam engine he had devised in 1690. He wanted permission from the Hanoverian government to navigate the river Weser with his steamboat, asserting that âthe new invention will enable one or two men to accomplish more effect than several hundred oarsmenâ. Despite support from the German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz, Papin was unsuccessful. He decided to carry on downriver to the port of Bremen and thence London. However, at MÃ¼nden his vessel was attacked and destroyed by a mob of local river boatmen who feared for their livelihoods, an early example of industrial sabotage.
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