Essay Example on Cotton Gin

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Cotton gin machine is a device that is used to separate the cotton seeds from the fibers easily and in a quick way. In this way, much productivity is guaranteed compared to the traditional manual way of separating cotton. This cotton fibers are the raw material for producing several cotton products. These products include linen and other clothing materials. The separated seeds may be used in the next planting season to grow new cotton plants. In this essay, I intend to look at the deeper history of the cotton gin and the several evolutions that have happened as far as cotton processing is concerned.

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There existed methods of cotton production since 500 AD mainly used by the Indians and other cotton growing countries. These most commonly used method was the use of a roller gin which basically handheld. This continued until the year 1793 when the first cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney who was an American. This mechanical machinery was later patented in the year 1794. According to Lakweta, the sixteenth century Indian roller gin remained just as it was to the present day. The Elis gin had small hooks made of wire which helped to pool the cotton within the machine. The loose cotton pieces were continuously by the brushes. This helped to avoid jams in the machine. The Elis gin also used a wired screen combination. The Elis gin helped in the revolution of the industry of cotton in America. Despite all these positives, it is also cited as a driver which brought about the increase in slavery mostly in the southern part of America. This is because there was an urgent need for more workers in the cotton fields to counter the faster production of the mechanical machinery.

In the history of cotton gins, the earliest models constituted one roller which made from iron or alternatively wood, flat stone flat or wood material. The earlier model of gin was evident in some parts of the world like North America, Africa and some parts of Asia. These earlier versions were not easy to use and I needed one to possess a greater skill to operate it. There was invention of double roller gin around the 12th to 14th century. This was evident in some parts of India as well as parts of china. The model from India was the double roller make which was common in the trade in Mediterranean throughout 16th century. The mechanical cotton gin could be powered by water in some areas.

The Elis modern gin which was considered as a breakthrough in cotton processing industry was able to clean 23kg of lint in a single day. This make was made of a cylinder which was bounded by several rows consisting of thin spikes. These spikes helped to pull the lint in between a comb-like grid which were laid side by side. The grids were properly spaced in manner that no seed could pass through. The jamming was prevented by constant brushing of the loose cotton. There was an attempt to develop the design by contemporary investors. In this design, they wanted to come up with a machine that could process cotton which was short staple in the year 1796. It is indicated that Eli was the one who invented the saw gin. He took numerous years trying to use his patent in court against some investors whom created illegal duplicates and an alteration in the rule of patents made him enforce the patent lawfully.

Before the introduction of Elis, cotton processing required much labor to help in cleaning and separating the seeds from the fibers. He introduced a teeth in his machine which combed out the fiber away from the seeds. This made the general cotton business to be more profitable and thus created more fortunes in the cities like Louisiana, Texas, Charleston, New Orleans, South Carolina, mobile and Galveston. This cities were elevated to be major ports of shipping through the economic advantages they obtained from cotton. This made the southern regions to be more economically independent as they depended on slavery as well as cotton farming. Thus one can argue that the cotton gin as part of industrial revolution transformed the Americas south to be the first powerhouse in agriculture globally.

In modern era, cotton is processed in form of compressed modules which are then fed into the gin using a pipe. The product is then fed to the dryer for removal of excess moisture. There is a cylinder which contains six spiked and rotating cylinder which sort foreign elements and break larger cotton clumps using centrifugal force. The gin has teeth at the stands which aid the separation of seed from fibers. With all these I would still conclude that the modernization of cotton processing through the use of cotton gin is attributed to Eli Whitney since much of improvement was also made by him. However, his inventions are said to have promoted slave trade and later sparked the civil war in America.


Lakweta, A. (2003). Inventing the cotton gin: Machine and myth in antebellum America. Baltimore: The johns Hopkins University Press.

Roe, J. (1916). English and American tool Builders. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Zaheer, B. (1996). The science of empire: scientific knowledge, civilization and colonial rule in India. Albany: state university of New York.

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