‘Cotton gin‘ invented in 1794, was one of the key development in the industrialization of weaving. It was invented by Eli Whitney, an American inventor, during the Industrial Revolution. Cotton production and export became a leading business in the United States. It changed America into a huge economy. This Cotton gin along with a few other important inventions and innovations, the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny, and the spinning mule, transformed the textile industry.
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The Industrial Revolution Inventions in Great Britain
The invention of the ‘flying shuttle‘ by John Kay, an English inventor, in 1733 accelerated the weaving and cloth production in England. The invention created a demand for cotton yarn. During the early 18th century, in order to produce quality yarn, an individual weaver had to visit neighbors for buying cotton weft. Then, it almost takes three carders for roving one spinner, and three spinners to provide quality yarn for one weaver. To overcome the mass production of cotton yarn, ‘Spinning jenny‘ was introduced. It was invented by James Hargreaves, an English inventor, in 1770. However, the spinning jenny was producing weaker threads and it was operated by hand. In order to produce, strong thread, a combined technology of spinning jenny and Richard Arkwright’s water frame – ‘Spinning mule’ was invented by Samuel Crompton in 1779. All these inventions created a vast demand for cotton and created a huge economy and triggered the American Industrial Revolution.
Success stories of Cotton gin
Cotton was an easily grown crop in America and could be stored for long periods of time. But separating the soft fibers cotton from its seeds was a tedious process, especially short-staple cotton. On average a cotton picker could remove the seeds from only one pound of short-staple cotton per day. Long-staple was another type of cotton easy to clean but can be grown well in the coastal areas. So the majority of cotton farmers in America were forced to grow the short-staple cotton, which had to be cleaned by hand, one plant at a time. Churka, an Indian roller cotton gin, was introduced to the United States in the mid-18th century. The device was helpful for cleaning long-staple cotton but was not adaptable for the short-staple cotton.
Eli Whitney’s Cotton gin (“gin” derived from the word “engine”), worked well with separating the seeds from the short-staple cotton. Whitney’s cotton gin was regarded as important inventions during the Industrial Revolution. The Cotton gin consisted of a wooden drum surrounded with a series of hooks or slender spikes, that caught the fibers and pulled the lint through the bars of a comb-like grid. The comb was too fine and was closely spaced, preventing the seeds from passing through. Smaller gins could be operated by hand, while larger ones could be powered by a horse. The hand-operated machine could remove the seeds from 50 pounds of cotton in a single day.
Eli Whitney’s invention
Eli Whitney and Phineas Miller partnered together and formed a cotton gin manufacturing company. They planned to build cotton gins and install them throughout the Southern cotton plantations, and take a portion of all the cotton produced by each plantation as a payment. The farmers were happy with the idea of a cotton gin on their plantations, they know it could boost cotton production so dramatically. But they were not willing to share the profit percentage with Whitney and Miller. So, they started planting the pirated cotton gin.
While Whitney’s gin was able to clean seeds from short-staple cotton, it caused damage to the fibers of extra-long staple cotton. However, its success continued in the textile industry and it is always considered as inventions that changed the world.
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|demand for cotton yarn|
|crop in america|
|seeds was a tedious|
|one pound of short-staple cotton per day|
|america was forced|
|50 pounds of cotton in a single day|
|build cotton gins and install|
|not willing to share|