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Fitch, John (1743-1798) [Receipt for Robert Stocton for payment in full]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02480.07 Author/Creator: Fitch, John (1743-1798) Place Written: Trenton, New Jersey Type: Autograph document signed Date: 15 May 1775 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 15 x 19.5 cm.

Receipt to Robert Stocton [Stockton?] for payment in full. Accompanied by incomplete letter of the same date, apparently in a different hand, stating "The enclosed letter came to my Hands of," with monetary calculations. John Fitch designed and successfully launched the first steamboat in 1787. He received a U.S. patent for his steamboat in 1791. In the 1770's, Fitch made a living in Trenton as a silversmith, gunsmith, and provisioner of Continental Army troops.

John Fitch was an inventor, and perhaps the first man to practically apply steam power to a boat. Though he built a number of successful steamboats, they were all commercial flops, and he is therefore given little credit for the important scientific innovations that he did make in this field.

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