Eli Whitney (1765-1825) was the son of a Massachusetts farmer who studied Applied Arts at Yale College and went to work on a cotton plantation in Georgia. There he invented his “cotton gin”, a machine which combed out short-fibre cotton and separated it from its seed husks. The importance of the cotton gin was that it made possible the economic exploitation of the kind of short-fibre cotton which grows well in the southern United States, thus enabling the expansion of cotton as a staple crop, especially in Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee.
Please see our entry on The Industrial Revolution.
Editors. "Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 June 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1574, accessed 24 January 2017.]