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By D. Gale Johnson

Ebook by way of Johnson, D. Gale, Hemmi, Kenzo, Lardinois, Pierre

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Almanac Robert Fulton’s steamboat the Clermont. ) cities located along navigable waterways (deep and wide enough for boats to pass). St. Louis, Missouri, for example, utilized the steamboat to develop trade throughout the entire Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys. Steamboat construction became a thriving industry, with towns such as Louisville, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio, becoming centers of technology that supplied most of the steam engines. Canals Still, many of the best farming districts in the Old Northwest had no river access to the markets back East.

Upon its completion in 1825 the Erie Canal was already carrying monumental traffic along its 4-foot-deep and 40-footwide channel. The canal opened an inexpensive route for Western goods, especially lumber, grain, and flour, to flow into the Hudson and then out into world markets from the New York ports of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Moving in the other direction, manufactured goods swept west along the new channel. The Erie Canal cut the cost of sending goods from Buffalo to New York City from its prior cost of about $100 a ton to less than $8 a ton.

The first steam engines had been designed in the seventeenth century to pump water from mines. In 1712 English engineer Thomas Newcomen (1663– 1729) greatly improved the steam engine, and in 1765 Scottish engineer James Watt (1736–1819) improved Newcomen’s design. Watt’s steam engine was equipped with a cooling system that could cool down the steam and transform it back into water, using much less fuel than previous designs. The Watts Industrialism Takes Root in the United States 5 James Watt working on improvements to the Newcomen steam engine.

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