A 6 foot, steam-operated working replica of a steamboat invented by John Fitch set sail in Warminster on the pond situated near the Pavilion in Warminster Community Park on the morning of Saturday, July 21st.
Built my master model-maker, Fred Rosse, this six-foot, steam-operated vessel, is based on a French patent drawing obtained from the Smithsonian Institute. The paddle mechanism is taken from John Fitch’s own sketches. It represents a 1/10-scale version of the actual steamboat in which Fitch took passengers and freight between Philadelphia’s Arch Street wharf and Trenton, NJ in 1790. That vessel was the world’s first commercial steamboat.
Born in Connecticut, John Fitch began the “transportation revolution” while living in Warminster where he invented the steamboat and the steam engine to propel it in 1785. The steamboat replica is on loan from the John Fitch Steamboat Museum, which is located on the grounds of Historic Craven Hall, located in Warminster, PA.
This museum, which opened April 2011, houses exhibits depicting John Fitch’s adventuresome life, and the steamboats he invented. In addition the Museum has graphic displays on Fitch’s accomplishments, a professional DVD on Fitch, and a large 200-year old workbench with antique woodworking tools.
The John Fitch Steamboat Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon (by previous appointment) as well as the second Sunday of each month (excluding Easter Sunday) from noon to 3:00 p.m. Group tours will be given by reservation.
Historic Craven Hall, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at the corner of Street and Newtown Roads in Warminster, PA.