Essay on Cotton Gin

This essay has a total of 1086 words and 5 pages.

Cotton Gin

The Cotton Gin

In the late 1700’s the slave population in the United States had decreased. Before the
invention of the cotton gin the South, which could only make money by farming, was loosing
money because it didn’t have a major crop to export to England and the North besides
tobacco and rice. However, these crops could be grown elsewhere. Cotton was the key
because it couldn’t be grown in large amounts in other places, but only one type of cotton
that could be cleaned easily. This was long-staple cotton. Another problem arose;
long-staple cotton only could be grown along the coast. There was another strain of cotton
that until then could not be cleaned easily so it wasn’t worth growing. The cotton gin was
the solution to this problem. With the invention of the cotton gin short stemmed cotton
could be cleaned easily making cotton a valued export and it could be grown anywhere in
the south. The era of the “Cotton Kingdom” began with this invention leading into an
explosion in the necessity of slaves.

The cotton gin was a machine that cleaned cotton, especially short-stemmed cotton. The
cotton gin consisted of spiked teeth on a boxed revolving cylinder. When it was turned by
a crank, the cotton fiber was pulled through small slotted openings to separate the seeds
from the lint. While that was happening a rotating brush, operated by belts and pulleys,
removed the ropey lint from the spikes. A machine had been invented before to clean
long-staple cotton called a “Charka.” It was invented in Ancient India. Eli Whitney had no
idea that a machine existed while he made his machine.

Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793. Eli Whitney was an inventor and a mechanical
engineer. He was born in Westboro, Mass. He went to Yale and graduated in 1792. He heard
that a machine that could clean short-staple would help the south immensely. Also, he
heard that it would make the inventor very wealthy. He liked that idea. On his way to
Georgia he met Phineas Miller, Mrs. Greene and her children in New York. He took a ship
with them from New Haven to Savannah, Georgia. On the way he got very seasick. To add to
that the ship ran aground below “Hell’s Gate.” Since he already used most of his money to
take the boat he couldn’t afford to take another. A few days later he joined several other
passengers and took a wagon into the city. Once more he got sick but this time he came
down with the small pox, a mild case though. Phineas Miller and Mrs. Greene took him to
the doctor. After some rest he got better and was lucky enough to get some money from a

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