Claude-François-Dorothée de Jouffroy
Claude-François-Dorothée de Jouffroy was born 30 September in 1751 in Abbans, near Basancon, France. Educated in philosophy and literature he was at the age of 20 years enlisted in an infantry regiment. In 1772 having problems with the discipline of the infantry he ended up in prison, where he studied steam navigation, he had always been interested mechanics and in the sciences. On his release he went to Paris to study the Watt steam engine and in 1776 built a test boat that he sailed on the River Doub. It was not a success so in 1783 he built a larger vessel, with the promise of Government aid, which sailed the Saone at Lyon and maintained a speed of six miles per hour against the tide in full view of many spectators and scientist. Although the steamboat continued to on the river for more than a year the Government were persuaded by a rival Perier not to back Jouffroy vessel and by this time Jouffroy was to poor to fight his cause. The French revolution caused further delays and in 1816 he tried again with a boat on the Seine that was accepted but still no financial support. In 1831 desperately poor and failing in health he died of cholera.
Model of steamship built in 1784 by Claude-François-Dorothée de Jouffroy to convince Perier of his invention
Picture from Wikipedia