1-5 of 5 Results  for:

  • water transport x
  • rail designer or engineer x
  • rail transport x
  • Science and technology x
Clear all


Fitch, John (21 January 1743–June or July 1798), inventor and craftsman  

Neil L. York

Fitch, John (21 January 1743–June or July 1798), inventor and craftsman, was born in Windsor, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Fitch and Sarah Shaler, farmers. His father came from neighboring Hartford and his mother from Bolton. His mother died before he was five; his father married Abigail Church of Hartford two years later. Most of what is known about Fitch comes from an autobiographical sketch written between 1790 and 1792, when he was alone and embittered, convinced that he had been cheated by life. Although he had by then put aside the Calvinistic Presbyterianism of his upbringing and replaced it with a rationalistic deism, he still tended to pass judgment on those he felt had failed him. His memories of childhood were few and unhappy. He described his father as uncaring, even tyrannical. Unjust treatment by an older brother “forbode” his “future rewards,” he reminisced—with the irony intended ( ...


Fulton, Robert (1765-1815), artist, engineer, and entrepreneur  

C. M. Harris

Fulton, Robert (14 November 1765–23 February 1815), artist, engineer, and entrepreneur, was born on a farm in Little Britain (later Fulton) Township, south of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Fulton, a Scotch-Irish tailor and tradesman, and Mary Smith. Fulton’s father had left the prosperous market town of Lancaster to establish his family on the land, but like so many others with the same goal, he failed. The farm and the dwelling were sold at sheriff’s sale in 1772, and he took his family back to Lancaster. He died two years later....


Cover Fulton, Robert (1765-1815)
Robert Fulton. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102509).


Roosevelt, Nicholas J. (1767-1854), engineer and inventor  

Ellsworth S. Grant

Roosevelt, Nicholas J. (27 December 1767–30 July 1854), engineer and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of Jacobus Roosevelt, a shopkeeper, and Annetje Bogard. Nicholas’s brother Jacobus was the great-grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt. As a boy Roosevelt developed a great love for mechanics and built a model boat propelled by paddle wheels turned by springs and a cord. This experiment proved to be the start of his career in manufacturing steam engines and building some of the earliest steamboats. He persuaded friends to purchase land in what is now Belleville, New Jersey, and erect a metal foundry and shop. It was called Soho after the famous works of Boulton and Watt in Birmingham, England. Managing the enterprise alone, with several skilled mechanics imported from England, at first he had some success, building an engine for the Philadelphia waterworks and winning a federal contract to establish a rolling mill for copper to be used in the construction of warships. Unfortunately, the ships were never built, causing him a great financial loss....


Stevens, John (1749-1838), engineer and inventor  

Ellsworth S. Grant

Stevens, John (1749–06 March 1838), engineer and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of John Stevens, a shipowner and merchant, and Elizabeth Alexander. In later years Stevens’s father entered politics, serving as treasurer of New Jersey and as president of the New Jersey convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution. In 1766 Stevens entered King’s College, now Columbia, and graduated in 1768. He studied law for three years but never practiced it; instead, he joined his father in New Jersey politics and served as a special aide to Governor ...