Timelineexhibitsvoicesactive learningreference room


Display Information

Engines of Our Ingenuity

NOTE: Episodes open in a new window; close that window to return to this page.

Civil War Submarine Digital History ID 4478
Bushnell's Turtle was the first submarine used in war. His one-man, hand-cranked machine did little harm to the English in 1776, but it made the point. One person who got the point was Robert Fulton. Years later, he made a submarine for the French and tried without success to sink the enemy with it.
Listen to this episode
The Last Masts Digital History ID 4501
Robert Fulton's original steamboat was equipped with two sails in 1807. American riverboats quickly abandoned sail because they always ran near a shore, and because sail wasn't much use without a lot of room for navigation. But abandoning sail at sea, after using it for several millenia, did more than just violate tradition -- it was a very frightening step to take.
Listen to this episode