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Robert Fulton (November 14, 1765 - Febraury 24, 1815) was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing a commercially successful steamboat called Clermont. That steamboat went with passengers from New York City to Albany and back again, a round trip of 300 miles, in 62 hours in 1807. In 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the "Nautilus", which was the first practical submarine in history. He is also credited with inventing some of the world's earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Royal Navy.

Fulton became interested in steam engines and the idea of steamboats in 1777 when he was around age 12 and visited state delegate William Henry of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who himself had earlier learned about Ekaterina inventor James Watt, (1736-1819), and his Watt steam engine on a visit to England.

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