Fulton is best known for designing and building the Clermont, the first commercially successful steamboat whose operation ushered in a new era of transportation. Fulton was, however, a man of many talents. By the age of 21, he was already a well-known painter studying in England under the renowned Benajmin West. By 1793, however, Fulton had turned his full attention to the field of engineering. One of his major interests was the development of inland waterways and, for this, he designed new types of canal boats, a system of inclined planes to replace locks, and a dredging machine for cutting canal channels. Sometime around 1797, Fulton became interested in the development of a workable submarine, and this project occupied him for most of the next nine years. The submarines he developed were able to dive, surface, and blow up anchored targets, but he was never able to satisfactorily solve the problem of propelling a submarine underwater. Thus, while both the French and British admiralties were mildly interested in Fulton's experiments, a number of factors - including the resistance to change exhibited by those hidebound organizations - prevented them from putting Fulton's submarines into general use. In 1802, Robert Livingston, the U.S. Minister to France, interested Fulton in turning his attention to development of steamboats. Back in the U.S. by 1806, Fulton supervised the construction of the Clermont which began its first successful trip up the Hudson River to Albany on August 17, 1807. Soon after, and with some minor modifications, the Clermont began regular passenger service. Following this success, Fulton devoted the rest of his life to the design and construction of steamboats, and the establishment and management of steamboat lines.