The world at large, and even many of those who are interested in the history of mechanical engineering, do not know that the body of the great engineer, Robert Fulton, lies in Trinity Churchyard in New York city, being interred in the Livingston family vault. There was no mark nor inscription to indicate the resting-place, although his memory is perpetuated by such familiar names as Fulton Street, Fulton Ferry and Fulton Market. Now, however, the reproach that we do not erect memorials to our great men no loliger obtains, in this instance, for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers has caused a monument to be built, carrying a medallion portrait of Robert Fulton. The attention of the society was brought to this matter some three years ago by Mr. Albert A. Hopkins, of the editorial staff of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. The idea was warmly welcomed, and a committee was appointed to investigate the proper method to accomplish a' suitable marking of the grave. Its efforts were heartily met both by the Trinity Corporation and by members of the family. This monument was unveiled on December 5, with appropriate exercises. At 2 o'clock the members of the society and their guests assembled in the Real Estate Exchange adjoining the churchyard. Rear-Admiral Melville, Engineer-in-Chief of the United States Navy, made the opening address, and he was followed by Prof. R. H. Thurston, of Cornell University, who' in a few simple and well-chosen words gave a lucid idea of Fulton's real contribution to civilization. It was not claimed that Fulton was the actual inventor of the steamboat, but it is claimed that he was the first one to put it into commercial form, and that he was responsible for the proportioning of engine power to hull. Mr. Charles H. Haswell, who is now ninety-three years old, was present. We are carried well back to 'the beginning of the last century and to the very commencement of marine engineering when we realize that this venerable gentleman and engineer saw the Clermont making its first trip to Albany. ' Mr. Haswell was the. designer of the second steam war vessel of the United States Navy, as Fulton was of the first. He was also the first engineer in the navy. The procession from the Real Estate Exchange was led by Admiral Melville and Mr. Haswell. The members and their guests passed out of the rear door into Trinity Place and through the churchyard into Trinity Church, where the regular memorial services were held. The full choir was present, and the address was made by the Rev. R. F. Crary, D.D., a grandson of the inventor. Admiral Melville's interesting address is published in the current issue of the SUPPLEMENT. After the services the visitors filed out of the church to the graveyard, where the monument was unveiled. The site is next to that of Alexander Hamilton's memorial on the Rector Street side of the yard. The monument stands 12 feet high and is of plain granite bearing a bronze relief of Fulton. At the foot of the granite block is a plain inscription: KOro TO TTHE MEMtoORY OF ROBERT TOTOW. Born 1765. Died 1815. By THE AMCAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 1901. It is poetic justice that Fulton should continue to rest in the spot where he was interred, for at the front of the quaint old burying-ground run the electric cars, at the rear the elevated railroad, and at the foot of Rector Street, the other boundary, some of the fastest vessels in the bay make their landings. What more fitting spot could be obtained for the resting-place of one whose activities contributed 11 so large a degree to the progress which is so much in evidence immediately around the historic old church? S. T. Wellman, Prof. Thurston. Engineerin-Chief Pres. A.S.M.E.Haswell. Admiral Melville. Rev. Mr. C. THE UNVEILING OF THE FULTON MONUMENT, TRINITY CHURCHYARD. Recently The Times, London, sent a commissioner to Germany to spy out the land of machine shops, in order to ascertain the relative efficiency of the workmen therein as compared with English workmen. The commissioner seems to have been a competent man, for he has touched upon the salient features of the two races. The report states that the latest shops are well arranged, being light, well ventilated, and with all sanitary conveniences. The men themselves are cleanly in person, have steady hands, and take great interest in their work. They begin promptly at bell times and take no advantage of the foreman's absence; they are just as ready to start at the proper time as English workmen are to leave off. The tools are finely cared for and one man operates several, according to the nature of the work. German machinists are close workers to dimensions, and the cost of machining is said to be about oHe-half that of siini- lar operations in English shops; in time the reporter must mean, for no mention is made of the rate ol wages.
The Robert Fulton Memorial
This article was originally published with the title "Robert Fulton" in SA Supplements 52, 1355supp, 407 (December 1901)