Chapter 12: The Steamboat
Creating the world’s first vessels of powered transportation was no joke. Several competitive inventors put everything on the line to be the first to build profitable steamboats. For most of them, the pursuit ended in failure. It was the most unlikely one – an American painter – who got the job done, and in the process, changed the course of world history.
In this episode we’ll cover:
Denis Papin’s destroyed steamboat
The Marque de Jouffroy d'Abbans and his Pyroscaphe
William Symington and his Charlotte Dundas
The patent war between John Fitch and James Rumsey
The life and times of Robert Fulton
Sources for this episode include:
Clark, Basil. Steamboat Evolution: A Short History. Lulu.com. 2007.
Galloway, Robert Lindsay. The Steam Engine and its Inventors: A Historical Sketch. MacMillan and Co. 1881.
Herreld, Donald J. "An Economic History of the World Since 1400." The Great Courses. 2016.
Jordan, Francis. The Life of William Henry of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1729-1786: Patriot, Military Officer, Inventor of the Steamboat. The New Era Printing Company. 1910.
Rankine, J. Biography of William Symington, Civil Engineer; Inventor of Steam Locomotion by Sea and Land Also, a Brief History of Steam Navigation, With Drawings. A. Johnston. 1862.
Weightman, Gavin. The Industrial Revolutionaries. Grove Press. 2007.
Woods, Robert O. "The Genesis of the Steamboat." The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2011. https://www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/history-of-mechanical-engineering/the-genesis-of-the-steamboat
Of all the human fears that propel us in these Industrial Revolutions, few are more forceful than the fear of being left behind.
It’s perhaps that fear that led to the construction of the first steamboat. It’s certainly that fear that led to its destruction.
In 1705, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a philosopher and mathematician from Hannover, sent a letter to our old friend, Denis Papin, the guy who introduced pistons to steam power. By this point, Papin had left England and was teaching at the University of Marburg in Germany.
In his letter, Leibniz included a sketch of the steam engine patented and built by Papin’s bitter rival, Thomas Savery.
The Savery steam engine had not yet been adapted for widespread use, due to the deficiencies still to be corrected by Thomas Newcomen. But Savery – the man who had previously disparaged Papin’s work and blocked Royal Society patronage of his experiments – was now in a position for profit and prestige when it came to the development of steam technology. And no doubt it drove Papin crazy.
Over the next two years, his attention swung back toward steam power.
In 1707 he published a new book, The New Art of Pumping Water by Using Steam, and he sent letters with sketches back to Leibniz, with improvements to the Savery engine and a number of applications for the technology.
Among other things, steam could be used to power new forms of transportation, both on land and on water. Papin outlined an idea for an automobile and, critically for our story today, a steamboat.
In fact, that same year, he constructed his own small steam engine and boarded it on a small boat. A waterwheel and paddles would be powered using the steam engine. The plan was to try it out in Marburg, take it north up the River Fulda to the River Weser. From there it would travel the North Sea, be put on a ship to London, and finally demonstrated on the River Thames.
Now, this is before Germany was the unified country it is today. Traveling from territory to territory required permits and licenses from different authorities along the way. But it would be worth it. The steamboat would upstage Savery and lead to Papin’s comeback.
But it would also threaten the livelihood of boatmen across the world – the teams of men who rowed small boats up and down rivers for water-based trade. And when German boatmen on the River Weser saw the steamboat, they put an end to Papin’s comeback. They seized the vessel and floated it to the shore, where they dismantled it and smashed its components into pieces.
Papin arrived in London later that year without his steamboat. With his friends either passed away by this point or having abandoned him, Papin struggled to get funding for further research. In 1712 – the same year Newcomen finished his steam engine, the steam engine that would make Savery and his family rich – Papin died in poverty.
But his ideas lived on. Applying steam power to transportation was a concept way ahead of Papin’s time. But before the end of the century, the vision would be made into reality. And much like with Papin and Savery, the story of the steamboat was filled with the rivalries of competitive inventors, all vying to be the first to build a steamboat that would earn them a fortune and (in the process) change the world.
This is the Industrial Revolutions
Chapter 12: The Steamboat
Throughout the 18th Century, the idea of the steamboat continued, mostly in the back of people’s minds. Thomas Newcomen had expressed some interest in building one. A physician named John Allen actually received a patent for his steamboat concept, as did one Jonathan Hulls a few years later when he designed a tow-boat that would use a Newcomen engine.
But for the most part it wasn’t a practical concept yet. The Newcomen engine wasn’t particularly efficient, and the steamboat would only be practical on large rivers.
But between Canal-Mania and the Watt steam engine, the limitations the steamboat faced were about to be lifted.
In 1760, an American named William Henry made a trip to England. Henry had served in the French Indian War, which had pretty much wrapped up by 1759 when the British conquered Quebec.
During his trip to England, Henry experienced a “mechanical turn of mind” when he learned about James Watt’s super-recent developments in steam technology. Almost immediately, Henry recognized the potential for a steam-powered water vessel and got to work when he arrived back home in Pennsylvania.
By 1763, Henry had built his own steam engine and attached it to a boat with paddles. He experimented with the boat on the Conestoga River, but the pounding action of the engine was too much for the weak structure of the boat and it sank. He tried again with an improved model, but it too failed to meet expectations.
But Henry left a legacy that would be picked up by the next generation of Americans. And the 1770s through the 1790s would see a mad rush of overlapping and competing inventors trying to create a successful and profitable steamboat, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Let’s start in France.
Starting in the early 18th Century, the Newcomen steam engine slowly spread in France. By the 1770s, several individuals – sometimes working together, sometimes working against each other – were trying to apply that technology to water vessels.
In 1771, two retired Army artillery officers submitted plans to the French government to build a steam powered vessel. Once the plan was approved, they formed a company and built a small boat on the Isle of the Swans in Paris in 1774. The project would be overseen by a Paris industrialist named Jacques Périer.
Jacques Périer and his brother, Auguste, had a shop in Paris where, among other things, they built and sold Newcomen steam engines. They were also instrumental in the Paris water-pumping scheme that used pipes purchased from John “Iron-Mad” Wilkinson.
Now, at some point in the next couple months, I’m going to go into greater details about the first Industrial Revolution in France, and the name Périer is going to come up again. But whether these Périers were related to those Périers, I’m not quite sure yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you by then.
Anyway – Fitted with a twin cylinder atmospheric steam engine from England, the vessel was brought to Meudon. But during the night it sank, possibly due to an attack similar to the one on Papin’s boat in Germany.
In the midst of this failure, Périer and the retired officers had a falling out, and Périer decided to build his own steamboat. Not a whole lot is known about this one, but it sailed a trial run on the Seine in 1775 which resulted in disappointment. Périer was convinced that the steamboat wouldn’t require the power of more than one horse – after all, it only took a single horse to pull a barge.
When it failed, he offered to hand over the project to a young aristocrat he knew – the Marque de Jouffroy d’Abbans.
Born in 1751, Jouffroy d’Abbans had served as a page to the Dauphine as a teenager as he attended school in the royal court and prepared for a military career. From an early age, he had shown a strong aptitude for mathematics and mechanical sciences, and he even spent time in the Périer brothers’ shop. But early in his military services, he got in an argument with a superior officer and engaged him in a duel, and for that he was thrown in prison.
Apparently, while in prison, Jouffroy d’Abbans spent his time studying science and thought about how steam power could be applied to navigation. When he got out, with no military career path still available to him, he returned to his estate and put his mind to building a steamboat.
But when he received the offer from Périer, he declined.
For one thing, he and Périer had already been down this road. Jouffroy d’Abbans tried explaining that one horse pulling a barge on land was different than the propulsion horsepower needed for a boat in the water. He estimated the steamboat would need the power of roughly three horses.
So Jouffroy d’Abbans decided to build his own steamboat. He didn’t have the money himself, and his dad cut him off after his dueling shenanigans, so he went to his sister who agreed to fund the endeavor. With the assistance of a local blacksmith, he built an atmospheric engine which he installed on a 40-foot boat with a 6-foot beam on the River Doubs.
Only moderately successful, Jouffroy d’Abbans decided to try again, this time, picking up where Périer and the army officers left off. In Lyon, he re-formed the original company and built a new, 148-foot long vessel with a 15-foot beam and two large paddlewheels powered by two Newcomen-style steam engines. They called it the “Pyroscaphe.”
In July 1783, the Pyroscaphe made its first run on the River Saône. A crowd of 10,000 onlookers watched it as it sailed up and down the river, spewing out black smoke. They had some trouble working it, and the engine failed after about 15 minutes, but they were able to fix it fairly easily and continued the trial to their satisfaction.
More improvements would come in a 1784 version, and things were looking up for Jouffroy d’Abbans. But then came some roadblocks. First, the Academy of Sciences (the French counterpart to England’s Royal Society) were hostile toward his claims of success. He wasn’t a member of the society, whereas his rival, Périer, was. Without their recognition, he had no intellectual property rights to the Pyroscaphe, since France did not yet have a patent system like in Great Britain.
Then came the French Revolution, which took a violent turn on aristocrats like Jouffroy d’Abbans and he was forced to flee the country. By the time he was able to return in the post-Napoleonic era, his technology was way behind competitors in the United Kingdom and United States. He built a new one in 1816, but it wasn’t especially successful. He died broke in 1832 of cholera.
Next, let’s head north, to Great Britain.
It was on the Forth and Clyde Canal across Scotland – which, you may remember, linked Glasgow to Edinburgh – where a young man, inspired by James Watt, would test-run Great Britain’s first-ever steamboat.
William Symington was born in the Scottish Lowlands in 1764. His father, a mechanic in the nearby mines, saw his son’s intelligence and pushed him to pursue a career in the clergy. That was, after all, a good way to advance in the social hierarchy at the time. He briefly studied ministry, but he was fixated on mechanics.
At just 19 years old, he conceptualized a steam-powered land carriage – basically, a primitive automobile – and spent the next few years building a working model with his brother. He demonstrated it to professors at the University of Edinburgh and other scientific minds of the city, including a banker, Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, who had invested considerable time and money in mechanical boats.
Symington was encouraged to demonstrate the model by a guy named Gilbert Meason, the manager and co-proprietor of the mines where his father worked. Meason strongly recommended to the faculty they not lose sight of such a promising genius as Symington. And so, he was accepted there to study mechanics in 1786.
It was during this time Symington communicated with Miller about his boats and recommended the addition of a steam engine to move the paddlewheels. Miller offered to hire him as soon as his studies were completed so they could build such a vessel.
And so, in 1788, Symington began working on a small steamboat for Miller – a twin-hulled pleasure boat that cruised on Loch Dalswinton to Miller’s satisfaction. Next, Miller pushed Symington to go bigger by putting a steam engine on a huge, 60-foot boat and making it go faster. The project was completed the next year. They took it out for a test run on the Forth and Clyde Canal, where it moved at the impressive speed of 6 miles per hour. The crowd assembled to watch the demonstration broke out into cheers.
But the costs of building the vessel outpaced Miller’s ability (or possibly his interest) to invest further. Symington couldn’t convince him to pony up the cash. And so, Symington’s steamboats lay dormant for the next decade.
Instead, he picked up work in the mining industry, and took steps to open his own mines. And as the Watt steam engine patent was set to expire, Symington modified and improved the design, inventing a new horizontal steam engine, for which he eventually received a patent – although it would be several decades before the value of the invention was appreciated.
Then one day in 1800, while examining a coal field, he heard someone calling for him. When he looked around, he saw it was coming from a passing carriage. He approached the carriage, and saw in the window the Lord Dundas, governor of the Forth and Clyde Canal.
Dundas informed Symington that he had come up from London to see him. Years earlier, before he was elevated to his baronage, Dundas had been in the crowd that saw the impressive test-run on the canal. And now, he was interested in getting more steamboats on the canal, to replace the barges pulled by horses.
And with that, Symington went home and got to work, picking up where he left off with Miller. Getting a local ironworks to build a steam engine using his horizontal engine design, Symington sketched out a boat 56 feet long and 18 feet wide with a wooden hull. The engine would connect to a crank to drive a large paddlewheel in the center of the hull, to avoid damage on the banks of the canal.
To secure Dundas’ approval, Symington named the vessel after his daughter – The Charlotte Dundas.
Dundas was impressed, so much so that he introduced Symington to our old friend – the Duke of Bridgewater – who was also quite impressed and commissioned 8 steamboats for his own canal.
Designing the boat was one thing. Building it and making it work was another. From the beginning, Symington was plagued by problems. Components of the vessel were constantly coming in over budget. Getting the crank to work properly was difficult. Bureaucratic busybodies were constantly voicing concerns about Symington to Dundas.
But timing was also becoming a concern. By 1802, the project was still not done. The canal committee overseeing the project convinced Dundas to bring in a contractor by the name of John Allen (not the John Allen I mentioned earlier today) to finish construction.
The team finally unveiled the vessel in January 1803. With Lord Dundas and a few of his relatives and friends on board, they sailed it about 40 or 50 miles up the canal. Symington continued to tinker and another test-run was held in March, where it actually towed a couple barges about 20 miles on the canal.
Things were looking up for Symington, but then, seemingly out of nowhere, the project was killed. With Dundas objecting, the proprietors of the canal voted to ban steamboats on it, fearing they would injure the banks of the canal.
And then, the Duke of Bridgewater died. And without an heir, nobody was left to pay Symington to construct boats for his canal either. The Charlotte Dundas, meanwhile, was converted to an un-powered dredger before being left to rot. In 1856, a photograph of the vessel's remains showed it to be little more than a skeleton of a steamboat.
Symington had invested thousands of pounds of his own money to build steamboats for Great Britain’s canals, all for nothing. It took him years, mostly spent in coal mine management, to recoup his losses. He tried getting back into the game around 1816, with a few new steamboat designs, but by that point it was too late. He spent most of his time in litigation, suing others for infringing on his 1801 horizontal steam engine patent.
One of those lawsuits was against a guy named Henry Bell, a fellow Scot who had gone through all kinds of trade apprenticeships in his early career. Among other things, he had learned milling, stonemasonry, carpentry, and shipbuilding. In that time, he traveled across southern Scotland.
It was while living in a small town on the Firth of Clyde and running an inn that he started working on a steamboat, the PS Comet, in 1808. By 1812, he was taking passengers up and down the Clyde, before it shipwrecked in 1820. He quickly built Comet II, which sailed passengers across the islands of western Scotland, before it too sank in 1825 – killing 62 of the 80 passengers on board.
As you know quite well by this point in the podcast, Great Britain has been the focal point of the first Industrial Revolution. Mills, factories, farms, mines, ironworks, and canals all transformed the world forever, and the process started with the British. But the first examples of powered transportation – the steamboats – were perfected by their cousins across the pond.
For the same reasons why the United States had a keen interest on building canals, it had a keen interest on building steamboats. It was a huge country that was primarily agricultural. It needed to move lots of agricultural products – especially tobacco and cotton – out of the interior of the country to ship to markets in Europe.
So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that William Henry was far from the last American to dabble in building steamboats.
A frequent visitor to Henry’s home was a guy by the name of John Fitch. A Connecticut native, he served in the American Revolution and – after the war – surveyed land along the Ohio River. And while working on the Ohio he decided to pick up where Henry left off and build his own steamboats.
Receiving exclusive rights from the new states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, and backed by Philadelphia investors, he built a 45-foot vessel and tested it on the Delaware River in 1787, demonstrating it for a group of delegates to the national Constitutional Convention. Now this was some good foresight on his part, because that convention was going to create a more centralized and federal system of government for the new nation.
You see, after the war, but before the Constitution, the United States was operating on a document known as the Articles of Confederation, which gave the national government virtually zero authority, including patent-granting authority.
And while Fitch had exclusive rights in some states, he was running head-to-head with another American steamboat builder – a Virginian by the name of James Rumsey.
Not much is known about Rumsey’s early life, but we know that in 1784, he was running an inn in Virginia (well, today’s it’s actually part of West Virginia), and that General George Washington stayed there. During Washington’s visit, Rumsey showed him a working model of a mechanical boat he built. Washington helped him secure a patent for the boat in Virginia and appointed him superintendent of the Potomac River Project, which would make the Potomac navigable, eventually to steamboats.
After some trial and error improving his mechanical boats, Rumsey decided to connect a hydraulic pump piston directly to the piston of a Newcomen engine. The pump took in water from near the keel and ejected it at the stern of the boat, creating jet propulsion. Now, this was in 1787, the same year as the Constitutional Convention, and the same year as the Fitch trial.
So, when the inevitable patent fight broke out between the two, Rumsey argued that his 1784 mechanical boat patent in Virginia applied to his new models that used steam engines. Fitch, meanwhile, made the rather bold (and untrue) claim that he invented the water tube boiler, a key component in the steam engines.
The new patent law for the new federal government was so vague, that trying to assess who actually merited the steamboat patent would take a while, and even today it’s not clear who should have actually prevailed. Rumsey took his claims to the press, publishing pamphlets heralding him as the steamboat inventor, and Fitch quickly published a rebuttal. As this was going on, both men tried to file patents in Great Britain too. Rumsey went so far as to move to London.
And it seems that this war took a toll on both men. Rumsey died in 1792, purportedly of “overstraining his brain,” whatever that means. And Fitch died six years later. Having failed to build financially successful steamboats, he became severely addicted to alcohol and opioids, on which he overdosed.
And in the wake of their patent war, another American would pick up where they left off with their innovations.
Robert Fulton was born in 1765 in the township of Little Britain in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on the Maryland border. It has since been renamed Fulton Township.
His parents owned a small, fledgling farm which they sold when he was just a year old. Relocating to nearby Lancaster, his father died two years later, leaving him to be raised by his mother.
As a child, Fulton attended a small Quaker school. His teachers considered him a dunce, with little appreciation for books. But he was probably one of those kids – much like Albert Einstein – whose mind was under-stimulated in school. He preferred to spend his time drawing and he showed most interest in learning about new machines from the various tradesmen in Lancaster.
As the American Revolution raged throughout his teenage years, Fulton settled on a profession. He wanted to become an artist and portrait painter. So, at the age of 17, as the war was wrapping up, he moved to de facto national capital city in Philadelphia, where he spent the next 6 years painting. Then he began corresponding with a friend of his late father in London, Benjamin West, the Father of American Art.
West not only painted great masterpieces of British and North American history, but also trained several pupils in the profession. Somehow, West managed to maintain friendships with the likes of both Benjamin Franklin and King George III throughout the war. And with contacts in the United States, Great Britain, and France, West no doubt helped arrange for Fulton’s travels to Europe beginning in 1786.
Fulton started in London, where West took him under his wing, before travelling the country, painting landscape portraits. But he soon got swept up in Canal-Mania, making proposals for new canals and coming up with ideas like a canal-digging machine and double-inclined planes to replace canal locks.
He eventually moved to Manchaster, where he made several new friends, including a 23-year-old up-and-comer who recently became the managing partner of a local textile mill. Robert Owen. Don’t worry, we will spend an entire episode on Owen down the road.
Among the patrons Fulton attracted while in Lancashire was the Duke of Bridgewater. While Fulton might not have taken to civil engineering, he apparently had some knack for mechanical engineering. He got to thinking – “how can we speed up trade on these canals?” – and soon, the Duke hired him to build a steam-powered propeller boat.
That particular scheme is sort of laughable – Fulton failed at the task pretty miserably – but it set him down a new path. To learn how to build a steamboat, Fulton had to meet none other than James Watt, who showed him how the steam engine worked. Fulton studied it enthusiastically.
During this time, Fulton became one of the pro-canal pamphlet writers I told you about in Chapter 11, and in 1797, he decided to travel to the continent and bring Canal-Mania to France.
For the next seven years, Fulton lived in Paris where he studied engineering, chemistry, and mathematics, as well as the French and German languages. He met James Rumsey there, and he raised money for experiments in steam navigation by painting the first panorama ever exhibited in that city as well as illustrations to accompany a poem by his friend (and possibly lover) Joel Barlow.
Fulton also spent his time designing and inventing. Among other things, he came up with improvements for canals and aqueducts, boats, guns, torpedoes, and one of the world’s first practical submarines, the Nautilus. While none of these things made him much money, they all helped raise his public profile.
Also while in Paris, he met the American Minister to France, Robert R. Livingston, one of the five drafters of the Declaration of Independence. One of the key things Livingston did in this role was negotiate the Louisiana Purchase, effectively doubling the size of American-held territory and giving the United States the entire Mississippi River basin.
No doubt, Livingston understood just how important steamboats would be to the expanded United States, and he was already connected with some failed steamboat experiments back in his home state of New York. Fulton and Livingston agreed to build a new there in Paris, which they would test-run on the Seine in the spring of 1803, just as the Louisiana Purchase was finalized.
The morning the boat was scheduled to sail, a messenger rushed into Fulton’s chamber, pale and out of breath, to wake up the American. “Oh, sir, the boat has broken in pieces and gone to the bottom!” he cried. Fulton frantically got dressed and hurried to the spot where it sank. Over the next 24 hours they fished it out of the Seine. The weight of the machinery had broken the boat in half.
The machinery was slightly damaged, but surprisingly, the boat was salvageable. They rebuilt it and, in August that same year, they sailed the boat out on the Seine to a huge crowd of Parisian onlookers.
While their boat was far from perfect, it was the most successful trial run of steamboats in French history. Fulton and Livingston agreed it was time to start the steamboat revolution in earnest in America. And so, in 1806, Robert Fulton headed back to the United States.
He set up shop in New York and purchased a steam engine from Boulton and Watt. He had to pull a few diplomatic strings with his English friends for the government to allow Boulton and Watt to export it. Seeing as he had just left Napoleonic France, you’d imagine it would have been rather tricky. Perhaps it helped that Fulton secretly worked as a military contractor for the British Navy, for which he designed a torpedo, sending his plan to Admiral Horatio Nelson just weeks before the Battle of Trafalgar.
Working out of an East River shipyard, with his Watt steam engine in hand, Fulton built the Clermont, a 160-ton steamboat. Named after the country-seat of his partner, Livingston, the Clermont was 130-feet long by 18-feet wide, and proved the viability of steam power to move large vessels.
On Monday, September 10th, 1807, with a vast crowd watching on the shores of the Hudson River, Fulton prepared to set sail on the Clermont. It took a while to inspect the massive vessel before taking off, and as the crowd got restless, they started making jokes at his expense – mostly to the tune of, “It will never get over 1 mile per hour, that giant boat.”
As it got started, the slow pace of the boat’s two paddlewheels confirmed the crowd’s suspicions. Huge amounts of black smoke and sparks from the furnaces were seen. Jeers and insults were hurled at him from the shore, and Fulton’s friends worried about what would come of his reputation.
But that was just the boat getting warmed up. The Clermont picked up steam, and the crowd started to go silent as it got up to the remarkable speed of 5 miles per hour, a rate unthinkable for a vessel that size at that time. Throughout the autumn of 1807, the Clermont sailed up and down the Hudson, going as far north as Albany, shocking onlookers as it went by.
Over the next eight years, Fulton designed more and more steamboats to sail America’s rivers, including The New Orleans, which they built in Pittsburgh and took down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River, down to the City of New Orleans, kickstarting the long era of steam boating on the Mississippi and rapidly advancing trade within the American interior. It was a legacy that influenced such quintessentially American figures as Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain.
He also designed and built the Demologos, the world’s first steam-driven warship. It wasn’t a super practical vessel at the time – it included some design flaws and the American Navy was extremely underfunded in its early days. They couldn’t even afford the guns for the Demologos. Steam-powered warships wouldn’t start taking off until the 1830s, when the U.S. Navy introduced the USS Fulton.
And so it was the most unlikely of the steamboat builders – the dunce-turned-painter-turned-inventor – who finally succeed and got rich.
And Fulton was appointed to the Erie Canal Commission in 1811. He served on it until 1815 when he was walking home on the frozen Hudson with his friend, Addis Emmet. The ice broke under Emmet, who fell in. The 49-year-old Fulton jumped in to rescue him, soaking himself in the icy water. Over the course of the next month, he contracted either pneumonia or tuberculosis – or possibly both – and died that February.
By the 1820s though, there were hundreds of steamboats transporting goods and people in the US, UK, France, Netherlands, and Germany. Trade of finished goods, raw materials, coal, machine technology and more was made possible. Industrialization spread across Europe – but also in the new United States.
Thanks to Fulton, America grew rapidly with steamboats and, in the decades to come, steamships too. Sailing the coasts and eventually to other continents, steam-powered vessels overtook the world, cutting down significantly on shipping times and the costs of trade. The process of globalization was taking another great leap forward.
Today, thanks to that leap, we regularly consume products from around the world – whether it’s Japanese electronics or German cars or… Irish beer. And they’re all produced in those behemoths that are so illustrative of and inseparable from the industrialized world: Factories. Next time, on the Industrial Revolutions.
I want to make a special shout out this week to Travis Carley for his support. Thank you for helping make the Industrial Revolutions possible.
And thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Kickstarter campaign so far. If you still need to make your contribution, remember this Tuesday is the deadline! After that point the Kickstarter is no more. The link to donate is in the episode notes for this episode, and on the homepage at www.IndustrialRevolutionsPod.com.