link to ClassBrain Home  link to ClassBrain Home
 link to site map
Defining Documents Home 
 US Constitution & The Bill Of Rights
 Amendments To The US Constitution
 Budgets of the US Government
 Important Writings, Papers, & Designs
 Presidential Executive Orders
 Supreme Court Decisions
 plug-in page link
 link to ask classbrain


Patent for the Cotton Gin
By Eli Whitney
Mar 17, 2006, 1:35pm

Designed to separate cotton fiber from seed, Whitney's cotton gin, for which he received a patent on March 14, 1794, introduced a new, profitable technology to agricultural production in America.

The cotton gin is a device for removing the seeds from cotton fiber. Such machines have been around for centuries. Eli Whitney's machine of 1794, however, was the first to clean short-staple cotton, and a single device could produce up to fifty pounds of cleaned cotton in a day. This made cotton a profitable crop for the first time.

After this invention, the yield of raw cotton doubled each decade after 1800. Demand was fueled by other inventions of the Industrial Revolution, such as the machines to spin and weave it and the steamboat to transport it. By mid-century America was growing three-quarters of the world's supply of cotton, most of it shipped to England or New England where it was manufactured into cloth. During this time tobacco fell in value, rice exports at best stayed steady, and sugar began to thrive, but only in Louisiana. At mid-century the South provided three-fifths of America's exportmost of it in cotton.

Source: NARA
Citation: Eli Whitney's Patent for the Cotton Gin, March 14, 1794; Records of the Patent and Trademark Office; Record Group 241, National Archives.

Find more information on the Cotton Gin with help from Google.

Learning Links

Cotton Production and the Uproar of Slavery
Learn the role the cotton gin played in cotton production and slavery. Did the price of slaves go up or down after its invention? Learn this and more at this interesting site.
Source:Greg Solomon

Eli Whitney's cotton gin
Source: Africans in America - PBS

Lesson Plan:
Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Eli Whitney's Patent for the Cotton Gin
Source: NARA - The Digital Classroom

Suggested Reading

© Copyright 2006 by

Top of Page



Latest Headlines
Patent For The Electric Guitar
Patent for the Cotton Gin
Patent for the Electric Lamp
Patent for the Telephone
Patent for the Electric Dynamo

Corporate info | ClassBrain Home | Privacy and Copyright | Contact | Parents & Teachers | NeedHelp?