Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin Essay

748 WordsSep 13, 20063 Pages
Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin Eli Whitney : Eli Whitney was the inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Whitney was born in Westboro , Massachusetts., on Dec. 8, 1765, and died on Jan. 8, 1825. He graduated from Yale College in 1792. By April 1793, Whitney had designed and constructed the cotton gin, a machine that automated the separation of cottonseed from the short-staple cotton fiber. Eli Whitney's machine could produce up to 23 kg (50 lb) of cleaned cotton daily, making southern cotton a profitable crop for the first time, but Whitney failed to profit from his invention, imitations of his machine appeared, and his 1794 invention was not upheld until 1807. Eli Whitney and his business…show more content…
Ironically, it was as a manufacturer of muskets that Whitney finally became rich. Background on the Cotton Gin The cotton gin is a device for removing the seeds from cotton fiber. Simple devices for that purpose have been around for centuries, an East Indian machine called a charka was used to separate the seeds from the lint when the fiber was pulled through a set of rollers. The charka was designed to work with long-staple cotton, but American cotton is short-staple cotton. The cottonseed in Colonial America was removed by hand, usually the work of slaves. Eli Whitney's machine was the first to clean short-staple cotton. His cotton engine consisted of spiked teeth mounted on a boxed revolving cylinder which, when turned by a crank, pulled the cotton fiber through small slotted openings so as to separate the seeds from the lint -- a rotating brush, operated via a belt and pulleys, removed the fibrous lint from the projecting spikes. The gins later became horse-drawn and water-powered gins and cotton production increased, along with lowered costs. Cotton soon became the number one selling textile. After the invention of the cotton gin, the yield of raw cotton doubled each decade after 1800. Demand was fueled by other inventions of the Industrial Revolution, such as the machines to spin and weave it and the steamboat to transport it. By mid-century America was growing three-quarters of the world's supply of cotton, most
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