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Old Mar 09, 2013, 11:00 PM
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Joined Feb 2006
418 Posts
John Fitch Steam Boats

John Fitch was an interesting guy and a steam powered boat pioneer.

This boat was his first design, the 1787 model, I don't think it was used commercially.

Mike Sheppard's "The Beast" (2 min 16 sec)

This is the 1790 model, IIRC (fat chance) this boat was used for trips between Philadelphia and Burlington, New Jersey, a distance of about 15 miles.

John Fitch Steamboat Trial (0 min 28 sec)

So, it appears that propellers and paddle wheels are not the only way to move a boat. Rowers, paddlers and ducks may have been on to something.

People who can and do build are my heroes.
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Last edited by MikeSSS; Mar 10, 2013 at 12:51 AM.
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Old Mar 10, 2013, 10:07 AM
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-kno3-'s Avatar
Austria, Vienna
Joined Mar 2008
499 Posts
That 1790 model is awesome. Is it steam powered? I've never seen it before.
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Old Mar 10, 2013, 12:24 PM
Grumpa Tom
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United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2003
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Michael, your 'Beast' is brilliant! Thanks for posting the video. Are you #1?
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Old Mar 12, 2013, 05:11 PM
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Joined Feb 2006
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Oops, sorry if I have given the wrong impression. The 1787 was built by Mike Sheppard, don't know who built the 1790. The details of the two boats are unknown too.

Sadly, I'm unable to build, too d' lazy, thus the comment about the heros who do build.

John Fitch was not able to buy a steam engine from the English, who wanted to keep them an economic secret. He had to build a steam engine from scratch to power his boats. He did it!

We stand on the shoulders of giants.
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Joined Aug 2013
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The 1790 was built by Fred Rosse of Pennsylvania. It is live steam powered, and a thread with more details can be found on the Steamboating Forum here:

I am planning on building a ~22' boat using the Indian Paddle method (a la The Beast, and Fitch's first boat).
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