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Jump Back in Time The New Nation (1790-1828)
Norfolk & Washington steamboat, 1920-1950
The Norfolk & Washington steamboat shown here in about 1920 was much faster than its ancestors

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John Fitch Was Granted a U.S Patent for the Steamboat
August 26, 1791

In 1814, Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston brought commercial success to steamboating. They offered regular steamboat service between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi. The boats traveled at the breakneck speed of eight miles per hour downstream and three miles per hour upstream. (Three miles per hour is the average walking speed!) In 1816, it took 25 days for the steamboat Washington to go from New Orleans to Louisville, Kentucky, but improvements were made. By 1853, that same trip took only four and one-half days.
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