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Video:Profile of John Stevens

with Zach Toombs

John Stevens is an inventor dubbed the "Father of American Railroads." Get an overview of this inventor and his inventions, like steam locomotion, in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of John Stevens

Hi I'm Zach Toombs for About.com, and we're taking a look at the "Father of American Railroads," John Stevens.

John Stevens Early Life

John Stevens' father was a well-known New Jersey politician who had also been a delegate to the Continental Congress. Stevens himself served as treasurer of New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.

Steamship Work

In 1802 Stevens invented the screw propeller, a major advancement in steamship operation. Stevens build the first steamship to successfully navigate the open ocean when it sailed from Hoboken to Philadelphia in 1809. In 1811, another ship, the Juliana, was the first steam-powered ferry.

Steam Locomotion

Stevens was an advocate for rail transportation over canal navigation. In 1815, the first railroad charter in North America was granted to him, and in 1826, he demonstrated steam locomotion on an experimental track on his estate in present-day Hoboken, New Jersey, and ran a locomotive at about 12 miles an hour. By the end of 1830, 14 miles of track were opened and he had formed the Camden & Amboy Railroad and Transportation Company.

Patent Law

Historians also credit Stevens with outlining and helping develop U.S. patent law, and heavily petitioned Congress for it. John Stevens died in March of 1838.

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