John Fitch Steamboat Replica on Display at Visit Bucks Tourism Office in Bensalem
A working replica of a steamboat invented by John Fitch will be on display at the Visit Bucks County Tourism office in Bensalem until Friday, April 13.
Built by master model-maker, Fred Rosse, this six-foot, steam-operated vessel is based on a French patent drawing obtained from the Smithsonian Institute.
The paddle mechanism is taken from John Fitch’s own sketches. It represents a 1/10-scale version of the actual steamboat in which Fitch took passengers and freight between Philadelphia’s Arch Street wharf and Trenton, NJ in 1790. That vessel was the world’s first commercial steamboat.
Born in Connecticut, John Fitch began the “transportation revolution” while living in Warminster where he invented the steamboat and the steam engine to propel it in 1785.
The steamboat replica is on loan from the John Fitch Steamboat Museum, which is located on the grounds of Historic Craven Hall in Warminster.
This museum, which opened April 2011, houses exhibits depicting John Fitch’s adventuresome life, and the steamboats he invented.
In addition, the museum has graphic displays on Fitch’s accomplishments, a professional DVD on Fitch, and a large 200-year old workbench with antique woodworking tools.
Presentation panels and other materials from the museum will also be displayed at the Visit Bucks County Tourism Office along with the replica.
The John Fitch Steamboat Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon (by previous appointment) as well as the second Sunday of each month (excluding Easter Sunday) from noon to 3 p.m. Group tours will be given by reservation.
Historic Craven Hall, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at the corner of Street and Newtown Roads in Warminster, PA. For further information, please contact 215-675-4698 or visit the museum’s website at www.craven-hall.org.