Today in History, April 11: 1803 – Instrumental in establishing the US Patent system, John Stevens receives a patent for the first screw driven, steam powered boat, or steamboat. The son of a member of the Continental Congress, A Captain and later Colonel in the Continental Army, Stevens turned his talents to inventions after the war. Robert Fulton would win the most fame for the steamship, but it was Stevens who first tied steam power to propeller driven naval craft. He would be best known as the father of the American railroad for steam powered railroad engines. Not nearly as famous as George Washington, or other American heroes…but how much more impact did Stevens have on the world with his inventions? He and his contemporaries took us from a world of sail to paddle wheeled steamships, to ironclads, to battleships, liners, supertankers, and more.

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