Cotton Gin In the late 1700’s many people were trying to figure out a way to remove the seeds from cotton because it was very time consuming and “labor was a slow [and] expensive process” (Shectman 65). In the 1740’s the people of India had created a machine called the churka (a sankrit word for a jerking motion) that separated the cotton seeds from the clean fiber. “The cotton was fed through the dual rollers, which grabbed the fiber tightly and pinched free the seeds. The seeds were trapped by long groves in the rollers and deposited onto the floor, while the now-clean fiber exited the rollers” (Shectman 65). With this new invention women were able to spin their own yarn and cloth. In 1793 a spin-off the churka was created and renamed the cotton gin, which soon became a revolutionary invention that changed the world forever. The cotton gin was created in 1793 by a man named Eli Whitney; it was similar to the churka. It had “a revolving cylinder with stiff wire hooks and a slotted metal plate. Turned by a hand crank” (Sachs 41). On average people could clean one pound of cotton per day and cotton gin was able to clean ten pounds of cotton per day. The cotton gin soon became so successful that it made the United States the leading cotton producer.
The cotton gin had a big influence on the economy, but also was a big contribution to slavery in the south, which ultimately lead to the American Civil War. Farmers were lucky to have equipment that produced mass amounts of cotton at a time instead of having to pick out the seeds by hand. Slaves however were not as lucky. They were forced to pick the cotton and work the machines.
Cotton can be used for numerous things; use can make margarine and oil out of the seeds, long cotton fibers are used for clothing, and the short fibers can be shipped to the paper industry, and with the stalks and leaves and be put in the ground to make soil better. With Whitney’s invention America was able to produce mass amounts of
Cited: Sachs, Jessica Snyder. The Encyclopedia of Inventions. New York: F. Watts, 2001. Print.
Bridgman, Roger Francis. 1,000 Inventions & Discoveries. New York: DK Pub., 2002. Print.