Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin

(100 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

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.

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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 30 November 2015.]