The First Steamboat
THE first good steam-boat was built in New York. She was built by
Robert Fulton. Her name was "Clermont." When the people saw her, they
laughed. They said that such a boat would never go. For thousands of
years boat-men had made their boats go by using sails and oars. People
had never seen any such boat as this. It seemed foolish to believe
that a boat could be pushed along by steam.
The time came for Fulton to start his boat. A crowd of people were
standing on the shore. The black smoke was coming out of the
smoke-stack. The people were laughing at the boat. They were sure that
it would not go.
At last the boat's wheels began to turn round. Then
the boat began to move. There were no oars. There were no sails. But
still the boat kept moving. Faster and faster she went. All the people
now saw that she could go by steam. They did not laugh any more. They
began to cheer.
Seeing the First Steamboat
The little steam-boat ran up to Al-ba-ny. The people who lived on the
river did not know what to make of it. They had never heard of a
steam-boat. They could not see what made the boat go.
There were many sailing vessels on the river. Fulton's boat passed
some of these in the night.
The sailors were afraid when they saw
the fire and smoke. The sound of the steam seemed dreadful to them.
Some of them went down-stairs in their ships for fear. Some of them
went ashore. Perhaps they thought it was a living animal that would
eat them up.
But soon there were steam-boats on all the large rivers.