While New Yorkers laud native son Robert Fulton as the father of the steamboat, his achievements were built upon the work of many other innovators, among them Samuel Morey. Born in Connecticut and raised in New Hampshire, Morey was a talented engineer who designed and built a series of working paddlewheel steamboats, which became a center of controversy – Morey claimed that Fulton built his steam navigation empire by stealing designs, with the help of his financial backer, the powerful Robert Livingston. In this program we will explore the contributions of Morey and others to early steamboat development, wade into this two-century-old controversy, and explore his namesake lake in Fairlee, Vermont, near where he did his early experiments.
- Samuel Morey’s first steam engine (Vermont Historical Society)
- Elizabeth Bacon Eager, “Creative Combustion: Image, Imagination and the Work of Robert Fulton” (2016)
- “The American Artist as Scientist: Constantino Brumidi’s Fresco of Robert Fulton for the United States Capitol” (The Capitol Dome, 2014)
- Greville Bathe, The Rise and Decline of the Paddle-Wheel (1962)
- William Duer, A Reply to Mr. Colden’s Vindication of the Steamboat Monopoly (1819)
- “New Attention for Obscure Inventor” (New York Times, 1991)
- Lake Morey Protective Association