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