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Eli WHITNEY - 1793 - The cotton gin is invented (Eli Whitney, United States)


"In 1793, Eli Whitney invented a simple machine that influenced the history of the United States. He invented a cotton gin that was popular in the South. The South became the cotton producing part of the country because Whitney’s cotton gin was able to successfully pull out the seeds from the cotton bolls.

Eli Whitney was born in Westboro, Massachusetts on December 8, 1765 and died on January 8, 1825. As a young boy he liked to work in his father’s workshop taking things apart, like clocks, and putting them back together again. When he was a young man, he worked on a Georgian plantation tutoring children. He noticed the trouble the slaves were having picking seed from cotton bolls. In his spare time, he put together an instrument that would allow the slaves to clean more cotton in a shorter amount of time.

The cotton gin was a very simple invention. First, the cotton bolls were put into the top of the machine. Next, you turn the handle, which turns the cotton through the wire teeth that combs out the seeds. Then the cotton is pulled out of the wire teeth and out of the cotton gin...

By 1860, cotton was a cash crop. Cotton production in the South had increased. The number of slaves in the United States had increased. The dependency on slaves had increased. Capital had been invested in slaves, not in transportation or factories. All this happened because of a very simple machine, the cotton gin."

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