Technology: 1787-1880 Henry Miller Shreve

One individual played a part in three significant developments that opened up the Mississippi River to steamboats:  Henry Miller Shreve.
Pen and Ink drawing of Henry Miller Shreve

As an engine designer he made important improvements in steamboat technology. He helped break the Fulton-Livingston steamboat monopoly, allowing free access to the lower Mississippi.  He was instrumental in cleaning up inland waterways, removing snags and generally improving the river's condition for steamboat traffic.

Shreve's Ambition

As a young man Henry Shreve joined with a group of steamboat builders who wanted to challenge the Fulton-Livingston monopoly on the Mississippi.  In 1811, Robert Fulton built the New Orleans, a steamboat of a new design, and it made the first successful trip down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  After proving the viability of steamboat commerce on the river, Fulton and his partner, Robert Livingston, established a monopoly with the state of Louisiana that granted them exclusive steamboat rights to the lower Mississippi.  Shreve set out to learn the skills of a steamboat pilot and develop ways to improve steamboat design.

<- Previous  Top  Next ->