Fulton, Robert (1765–1815), U.S. inventor who improved both the submarine and the steamboat. His submarine Nautilus was launched at Rouen, France (1800), with the aim of using it against British warships: in fact, the British repeatedly escaped, and the French lost interest. His first steamship was launched on the Seine River (1803). After this success he returned to the United States, launching the first commercially successful steamboat, the Clermont, from New York (1807). He built several other steamboats and the Demologus, the first steam warship (launched 1815).
See also: Steamboat.
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