|Ships:||Sailing ( 1)|
John Fitch (January 21, 1743 – July 2, 1798) was an American inventor, clockmaker, entrepreneur and engineer. He was most famous for operating the first steamboat service in the United States. (Source: Wikipedia)
To read more about John Fitch's journey in Seaport, check his storylines.
|Type:||Steamship ( 2)|
|1||Please come in|
The master watchmaker will be here soon. My name is John Fitch, an apprentice here. You need your watch repaired? Take a seat and eat something while you wait.
I will let you in on something. I am just an apprentice now but I am planning to open my own business soon. But first I am looking for an investor. Would you be interested?
|3||My life in short|
I know my way around machines and metals. Learned much of it by myself. My family had no money to send me to study, but I am a quick learner. Let me show you something.
A beautiful watch casing, right? I made it from a bit of metal. It's empty inside now so it does not work, but with a few mechanical parts you could use it as a pocket watch.
|5||Founding a foundry|
I plan to open a foundry. I want to start with something simple and make a name for myself. There is an old blacksmith workshop that could be rebuilt to serve my purpose.
I have already quit my apprenticeship at the watchmaker. I just need some tools and we can open the foundry. I have to earn money for wedding. My fiancée is getting nervous.
|7||I am a husband|
I am sorry I did not invite you to the wedding. It was just a small event. Now go to the port and try to get some customers for our foundry. The shop is empty all the time.
|8||Progress of science|
I have been watching this newest invention from Europe, the steam engine. I have a feeling I could make a fortune out of it. I need to buy more books on this.
The foundry is not as profitable as I hoped. And now that the war has begun hard times are coming. If I don't want to get recruited as a soldier, I'll have to start making guns.
I have not mentioned it before, but I left my wife. With the money problems things got really tense. Come for a dinner tonight. I can't help but feel lonely sometimes.
|11||War is a cruel time|
You can never know when some soldiers barge into your shop. Hopefully they will be on your side when it happens. I will feel more safe if we cover the windows with planks.
|12||Let's move on|
The war is ending and I have been offered to work as a land surveyor in the West. There is nothing keeping me here anymore. Let's sell the workshop and tools and move on.
|13||I am back|
I have had enough of wandering the Northwestern territory. After being abducted by the Indians I want to live in some civilized land again. A small house would be sufficient.
During the years when I have been working as a surveyor I have bought land which should earn me money. Now I have the time to concentrate on my big project - the steamboat!
I tried to order a steam engine from England unfortunately without success. I will have to build my own. Come, I will give you a list of the items I need.
|16||I need a help|
Whatever I do I can't get it right. I have to ask for help. I know Mr. Henry Voigt, a skilled inventor and clockmaker, from my time as an apprentice. Let's invite him for dinner.
|17||No more obstacles|
It was well that I asked Mr. Voigt for help. He gave me some good advice and promised to help me with the engine. Bring me some material so we can get to work right away.
I was too eager to get it done. First we need to acquire the right tools for my workshop only then can we begin the construction. No wonder I have failed before.
|19||Start the research|
If we are to use the steam engine on a boat, we will need a lot of information about ships and their construction. The sailors in the port will surely tell you all about it.
This project of mine will cost more than I expected. I am going to ask the state for funding. A steamboat transport is something that deserves their financial support.
|21||The main investor|
I have been given a monopoly on steamboat transport. That will be helpful but I need to ask for funding from private people now. I already have an idea where to start.
We need to rework the engine again. I am sure you heard the explosion. Don't worry, no one was hurt. We just have to begin anew. This time it will be a success for sure.
Now let's get to the boat building itself. I have here plans and sketches which show how it should look. Bring some planks and we can get to work.
There still remains the question of how we make the boat move. I have thought about propelling it by a row of paddles fastened on a metal construction. Let's try that.
We are ready for the trial run. Many people including potential investors will come to the Delaware River to watch our invention. So let's prepare some refreshments.
|26||It was a success|
However, the ship was too slow. The paddles need to be replaced by a better mechanism. We will ponder about it and you go ask the people how they liked our steamboat.
Henry is living in an inn and it's starting to be expensive. It will take time until we finish our work. How about you build a new room in my house where he can live?
The newest model will be more expensive but I promise this is the masterpiece everyone has waited for. I will need just a few more parts to finish it.
I want people talking about our boat before we launch it. There must be a crowd on the river banks. And I know how to do it, we need an advertisement in the local newspapers.
This time we will use a paddle wheel to propel the boat. I am sure we are on the right track now. The wheel will drive the boat faster and more smoothly than before.
|31||Add the anchor|
I had a talk with Henry and we agreed. Our second steamboat is ready to be launched. Let's not forget an anchor and we can present our newest model to the public.
|32||The perfect model|
I have received an offer of financial support for a third boat based on the latest model. It will be used to transport passengers. We will celebrate tonight!
If we want to build a passenger boat, it will have to be larger and for that we need more workers. I have received enough money to pay them, you just need to recruit them.
|34||I like this place|
This building is too small for the new boat. Let's remove that wall over there and build a larger workshop from our current one. I don't feel like moving somewhere else.
|35||Only the best|
You should already know all the parts we need to build the steam engine. Don't hesitate to spend a bit more on them, our final boat has to be a masterpiece.
I almost forgot, I need to patent my steamboat before someone copies my work and reaps all the glory. You know how bureaucracy is, we will need some money to get the patent.
|37||Made with purpose|
Should this be a passenger boat, we need to mind the design and comfort not just the technical details. We will add two rows of benches on each side of the boat.
|38||Dream come true|
This is the realization of my dream. I can't wait to see her puffing up smoke and getting further along the river. Just the chimney is missing now and then we can launch her.
|39||Tomorrow is the day|
Tomorrow goes our steamboat on her maiden voyage. The first passengers should receive food and drinks for free to fully enjoy this special occasion.
|40||The Steam Era|
The first passenger steamboat on the Delaware River is in service now. I do not doubt that this is the start of a new age in the ship transport. Wasn't it wonderful to witness it?