The legal position which Hatasu occupied during the sixteen years that followed the death of Thothmes II. was probably that of regent for Thothmes III., his (and her) younger brother; but practically she was full sovereign of Egypt. It was now that she formed her grand schemes of foreign commerce, and had them carried out by her officers. First of all, she caused to be built, in some harbour on the western coast of the Red Sea, a fleet of ships, certainly not fewer than five, each constructed so as to be propelled both by oars and sails, and each capable of accommodating some sixty or seventy passengers. Of these thirty were the rowers, whose long sweeps were to plough the waves, and bring the vessels into port, whether the wind were favourable or no; some ten or twelve formed the crew; and the remainder consisted of men-at-arms, whose services, it was felt, might be required, if the native tribes were not sufficiently impressed with the advantages of commercial dealings.
Messrs. Forest and Son received a design and order for the construction of a steel boat 28 ft. long, 6 ft. beam, and 2 ft. 6 in. deep. It was to be built of Siemens steel galvanized, and divided into twelve sections, each weighing about 75 lbs. The fore and aft sections were to be decked and watertight, to give buoyancy in case of accident.
Our afternoon cruise was not further remarkable except for the sight of various immense ferry-boats swinging across the stream attached to wire guys and bearing two great loads of hay, cattle and all, and for a visit to Ingolstadt, a military post of great importance and correspondingly unattractive aspect.
On the Tile-boat
Boats on Nile about 2500 B.C.
A Flat Boat
Another illustration of his [Robert Fulton] inventive gift belongs to his boyhood days. He and one of his playmates used to go out fishing in a flat boat which they propelled by the use of long poles. Getting tired of this method of navigation, Robert made two crude paddle-wheels, one for each side of the boat, connecting them by a sort of double crank, which the boys united in turning. They could then easily propel the boat in their fishing trips to various parts of the lake, and keenly enjoyed this novel and easy way of going a-fishing.
Fulton returned in 1806 to America, where, with money furnished by his friend Livingston, he began to construct another steamboat which he called the Clermont, after the name of Livingston's home on the Hudson. This boat was 130 feet long and 18 feet wide, with a mast and a sail, and on each side a wheel 15 feet in diameter, fully exposed to view.
One morning in August, 1807, a throng of expectant people gathered on the banks of the North River at New York, to see the trial of the Clermont. Everybody was looking for failure. People had all along spoken of Fulton as a crack-brained dreamer, and had called the Clermont "Fulton's Folly." "Of course the thing would not move." "That any man with common-sense might know," they said. So while Fulton was waiting to give the signal to start, these wiseacres were getting ready to jest at his failure.
Finally, at the signal, the Clermont moved slowly, and then stood perfectly still. "Just what I have been saying," said one onlooker with emphasis. "I knew the boat would not go," said another. "Such a thing is impossible," said a third. But they spoke too soon, for after a little adjustment of the machinery, the Clermont steamed proudly up the Hudson.