Invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, it is used to separate cotton fiber from its seeds. Prior to the invention of the cotton gin, removing the seeds from the fiber was done by hand, a very tedious and expensive process.

The cotton gin uses teeth attached to a cylinder which are rotated through a set of fixed teeth. Cotton fed to cylinder is caught on the teeth and pulled through the fixed teeth which are spaced too close together to allow the seeds to also pass through.

Also called a saw gin, it is one of the most important factors in the creation of the enormous US cotton industry.

Science was the cause of a half century American disgrace. This chapter was written by Eli Whitney.

The cash crop of the South during colonial times, the whole basis for industry and farming, was tobacco. As time went on, tobacco farmers were finding they were needing fewer and fewer slaves. In fact, once reason that the restrictions on slavery were left out of the Constitution was that many delegates believed slavery would gradually disappear.

Along came Eli Whitney with the cotton gin. This invention revitalized the south and revolutionized their industry. Cotton was King for southern planters. Manpower was needed to pick the cotton and run the cotton gin. What better than slave labor.

Instead of slavery slowly dying by the early 1800s, it thrived until the end of the Civil War.

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