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In partnership with Chancellor Robert Livingston, Robert Fulton designed and built the first commercially successful steamboat, the North River, often called the Clermont. The Clermont's maiden voyage began in New York City on Monday, August 17, 1807. Powered by a steam engine purchased from James Watt, the Clermont traveled 150 miles to Albany in a record 32 hours, averaging 4.7 miles per hour. The invention, initially called "Fulton's Folly," changed both life and work on the Hudson River.


  • What was the advantage of steam boating over sail navigation?
  • Why was James Watt's steam engine important to Robert Fulton as he designed and developed the Clermont?
  • How successful was the Clermont?

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