Denis Papin, 1647-1712: Letting Off Some Steam

The  steam boat, that was Robert Fulton’s baby, right?  Good old 19th century American know-how.  No? Not him?

Okay, James Watt, then.  Just the sort of thing a clever Scottish engineer would come up with.

The French beat them both to the punch.  Denis Pepin built the first steam driven paddle boat – in 1704.

The fellow wasn’t even a mechanic.  Not by training at least,  His university degree was in medicine, and even at an advanced point in his non-medical career he was referred to as le medecin Papin. Continue reading