London: published by I. and J. Taylor, At the Architectural Library, High Holborn, 1796. First Edition. Paper-Covered Boards. First Printing, early issue (with verso of p. 143 blank; later issues carry the "Addition" on canals in mountainous areas) of Fulton's ambitious scheme to create a network of inland waterways in the newly independent United States. Demy 4to (281 x 219mm): xvi,143,pp, with seventeen plates (showing the narrow canal boat, inclined planes, and iron and wooden bridges), in addition to which Sabin mentions a portrait, but we have not been able to locate a copy bound with one. Original slate blue paper-covered boards neatly respined with buff paper, original paper title label printed in black laid down. Sabin 26201. Bibliotheca Chemico-Mathematica I, 8181. Skempton 517. Honeyman Coll. 1383. Ottley 174. Singer IV, p. 570 and figs. 313-315. Binding somewhat stained and slightly bumped, hinges neatly reinforced, pages occasionally spotted, but a tall, wide-margined copy, uncut and in the original boards. Near Fine+. Item #BB2743
As early as 1794, Fulton had patented (no. 1988) a machine to convey boats from one canal level to another, but this treatise, emphasizing the social advantages of waterway transport, first fully detailed his grand plan for a network of small canals and inclined planes (rather than locks) for raising and lowering small boats to accomodate changes in elevation. President George Washington was sent a copy and acknowledged its receipt in a letter to Fulton dated December 14, 1796. Fulton replied to Washington, on February 4, 1797, stressing the advantages of his proposed network of small waterways, rather than turnpike roads or river navigation, to "penetrate the Interior Country And bind the whole In the Bonds of social Intercourse." Fulton's ingenious inventions, including the world's first commercially successful steamboat (the Clermont), knit the new nation's disparate regions together. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).