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Eli Whiney and The Invention of the Cotton Gin . By: Cassidy Osborne . Eli Whitney’s early life . Eli Whitney was born in 1765 in Westborough, Massachusetts. Growing up he always looked up to his dad because he was a farmer, and a talented mechanic and inventor.
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Eli Whiney and The Invention of the Cotton Gin By: Cassidy Osborne
Eli Whitney’s early life • Eli Whitney was born in 1765 in Westborough, Massachusetts. • Growing up he always looked up to his dad because he was a farmer, and a talented mechanic and inventor. • As a young boy he loved to work with his father in his shop, working on taking things apart like clocks and putting them back together. He grew up through the American Revolution • he was an expert on making nails from a device that he made himself.
Graduation and After Graduation • Eli Whitney was a graduate of Yale University, following his graduation he moved south. • His first thought was that he wanted to work as a private tutor, but he changed his mind and stayed with Catherine Greene. • During his stay with Catherine Greene, he learned about the cotton industry and the importance of it. He also learned how difficult it was for the cotton farmers to make a living.
Learning about the importance of Cotton • For many reasons cotton was an ideal crop. Unlike fruit the fibers in cotton can be preserved. • Cotton plants contained a lot of seeds which made it difficult to separate from the soft fibers. • Long staple cotton was a type of cotton that was easier to clean, but it could only be grown in coastal areas. • Unfortunately, farmers were forced to grow the short-staple cotton, which demanded extensive labor duties. Short staple had to be cleaned carefully and the only way this could be done was by hand.
Learning about the Problems of growing cotton • Catherine Green and her plantation manager explained to Eli Whitney the problem with growing short-staple cotton. • Whitney wrote that if a machine "could be invented which would clean the Cotton with expedition, it would be a great thing both to the Country and to the inventor." • Soon after he learned about how difficult it was to grow short staple cotton, he invented a machine called the cotton gin.
Inventing the cotton gin • The cotton gin deseeded the cotton efficiently and effectively. • He first showed the cotton gin to some colleagues • This device could deseed more cotton in an hour than what would be produced by workers in a whole day. • Soon after that his idea spread widely, local planters took to planting green seeded cotton and used the new device.
How did the cotton gin work? • The cotton gin could be referred to as a strainer or a sieve. • “Cotton was run through a wooden drum embedded with a series of hooks that caught the fibers and dragged them through a mesh.” • The mesh was too thin to pull the seeds through but the hooks could pull the fibers through. • The cotton gin was a creative yet simple way to deseed cotton. • The cotton gin used spiked teeth that pulled the fibers through slots in a metal breastplate. • Then there was a second cylinder that used brushes to feed the fibers from the teeth.
Patenting the cotton gin • Eli Whitney did not want anyone else to take his idea, so he got a patent for it in 1794. • Eli Whitney and Phineas Miller formed a cotton gin manufacturing company. They set out to build cotton gins and install them on plantations from Georgia all the way south. • They would charge the farmers for ginning them. The charge was that they would get two fifths of the profit they make from the sale of cotton. • But some farmers had no intent of sharing any of the money with Whitney or Miller. • People in Georgia resented having to go to Whitney’s gins, where they had to pay to use it. • So instead of them using Eli Whitney’s cotton gin they designed their own machine, in which some were better than the original cotton gin. • Miller and Whitney started filing law suits against the people who made their own version of the cotton gin but his patent had numerous loopholes which made it ten times harder for him to protect his right as an inventor.
How did the cotton gin help the American Economy? • In the south, it meant that the cotton was produced plentifully and cheaper. • In the north, it meant that the rise in cotton kept a steady supply of raw materials for the textile mills, this was especially important for New England. • By the nineteenth century cotton was America’s main export. • Before the cotton gin was invented, cotton was not very important because it took a long time for it to grow and deseeded it was a lot of work.
An Unintentional result of the cotton gin: • it helped strengthen the slavery in the south. • Even though they did not have to work as hard to get the seeds from the cotton out, they also had to have slaves to run the machine. • Two people would have to work the machine and the others could be in the field picking more cotton. This made the amount of cotton that deseeded each day increase, which means the plantation owners got more money and faster. • Although the cotton gin made the work easier, and the planters got greater profits, they were demanded to grow bigger crops in which caused them to need more workers. • Since slavery was the cheapest kind of workers, they acquired more slaves. • At first Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia were the only places you saw slavery and cotton plantations. During the 1800s slavery had spread to Mississippi and Alabama. At least 80,000 slaves were sent from Africa between the 1790s and 1800s.
Works Cited Information: • "Cotton Gin." Dictionary of American History. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (November 24, 2013). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401801051.html • “Cotton Gin and Eli Whitney,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/topics/cotton-gin-and-eli-whitney (accessed Nov 24, 2013). • What Effect Did the Cotton Gin Have on the Production of Cotton?,”eHow website, http://www.ehow.com/info_12111492_effect-did-cotton-gin-production-cotton.html (accessed Nov 24, 2013)
Pictures Work Cited • "Pgapworld - Cotton Gin Eli Whitney." Pgapworld - Cotton Gin Eli Whitney. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. • "Best Places to Live in Westborough, Massachusetts." Best Places to Live in Westborough, Massachusetts. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. • "Guide to the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989(Record Group 233)." Guide to House Records: Chapter 22: 1789-1847. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. • http://www.tradenote.net/trade1559-sell/Cotton-Textile-Materials-14/ • "Slave and Cotton Production." Task. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. • "Say It Ain't So Already." Say It Aint So Already. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. • "Economic History of the United States." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Nov. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. • "Inventions Spur Expansion." Inventions Spur Expansion. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.