The 26 August Day Thread of The Steamboat

On this day in 1791, inventor John Fitch was granted a patent for his steamboat. On this day, various steamboat patents were also awarded to Nathan Read, John Stevens, and Fitch’s rival James Rumsey. Fitch is remembered for operating the first steamboat service in the United States, but when the Patent Office did not give him a monopoly patent on his boat, his investors pulled out and his business was ruined, despite having mechanically successful boats.