Harbour Light couldn't have picked a better time to air Sailor Sam's current adventure 'The River Shark." This week is the birthday of the Clermont, the first steam ship. The Clermont was the creation of Robert Fulton. It was launched on August 7, 1807, which will make this the 202nd anniversary of it's maiden voyage. The Clermont traveled at a whopping 5 miles per hour.
Fulton's next steam ship the "New Orleans" was launched in 1811 and did 8 mph. By the way, Fulton also successfully sailed a submarine he named "Nautilus" in 1801.
There are some very interesting sites on the 'Net devoted to the history of steam ships. Also read Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi for some great reading on this subject.