The invention of the steamboat, in the early 1800s, dramatically changed society as steamboats were the first means of travelling upstream. The steamboat led to the creation of new towns and stimulated the economy.
Transportation of goods through water
Robert Fulton's steamboat made the first successful voyage down the East Coast in 1807. The first steamboat to travel the West Coast did so in 1811, traveling down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. The ship traveled from New York to Albany and back in five days, an unheard of time during that era. Fulton held a monopoly on the design for three years, after which steamboats began to appear everywhere.