MOREY, Samuel [1762-1843] -- American inventor (steam boat)
Son of Gen. Israel Morey, an officer in the Revolutionary war, who served on the frontier. He removed to Orford, N. H., with his parents in 1766, and as he grew to manhood turned his attention to mechanics and chemistry. From 1780 to 1830 he devoted himself to practical experiments upon steam, heat and light, and to propelling boats by steam.
Between 1790-93 he took out several patents for steam machinery, some of the models of which are in the possession of the New Hampshire Antiquarian society, and his prophecy of a boat propelled by steam was ridiculed by his neighbors. He constructed a boat and fitted it with a steam engine of his own manufacture, and on one Sunday in 1792, with a young companion, John Mann, he made his first trip from Orford several miles up the Connecticut river to Fairlee, Vt., and return. The boat was propelled by a paddle wheel in the prow, and made about four miles an hour. Encouraged by ¤Prof. Benjamin Silliman, with whom he corresponded, he went to New York to exhibit his model. He had several interviews with ¤Robert R. Livingston, who had visited him at Orford and tried his boat, and Morey afterward visited Livingston at Clermont at the expense of the chancellor, and at his request Morey spent three successive summers in New York city, building and experimenting with a new boat.
He was told by Livingston that if he would perfect an arrangement for placing the paddle wheel in the stern of the boat he would purchase his invention for a considerable sum, understood by Morey to be $100,000, and if he would give the use of the boat to run between New York and Amboy, N. J., he would give him $7,000, which latter offer Morey refused, leaving his boat at Hartford, Conn.
The next summer he improved the engine, and after study and experiment applied the wheel to the stern, being aided in the mechanical work by his brother Israel. The boat attained a speed of five miles an hour, and Livingston and others accompanied him on a trip from the Battery to Greenwich village and back. A patent was issued to Samuel Morey on March 25, 1795, for a steam engine, the power to be applied by crank motion, to navigate boats of any size; patents were issued to him on March 27, 1799, and on Nov. 17, 1800, for the application of steam, and one for a steam engine in 1803.
He continued to experiment with the steamboat, and in 1797 constructed a boat on the Delaware at Bordentown, N.J., placing a paddle wheel on each side, which increased the rate of speed and proved more effectual in every way. The boat was openly exhibited at Philadelphia, Pa., and arrangements were made with certain capitalists for the construction and practical operation of large steamboats, but financial distress overtook those interested before they could execute their plans.
He received a patent for a revolving steam engine July 14, 1815, and invented one of the first stoves in the United States.
He inherited large tracts of land in New Hampshire and Vermont, where he was engaged in lumbering for many years. He built chutes on West mountains to slide the logs from the steep sides to Fairlee pond, and planned and built the locks at Bellows Falls, which opened up navigation between Windsor, Conn., and Lebanon, N.H.
He contributed to Silliman's Journal of Science. He resided at Fairlee, Vt., from 1836 until his death, April 17, 1843. BDNA
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- Samuel Morey Alice Doan Hodgson's booklet
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