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Cotton Gin

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• Eli Whitney


Definition: Hugely important cotton-harvesting device invented by Eli Whitney in 1793. The cotton gin had spiked teeth on a revolving cylinder that pulled the cotton through small openings to separate the cotton seeds from the lint. At the same time, a brush removed the lint from the spikes. The invention of the cotton gin meant that people didn't have to separate cotton by hand anymore. It also meant that the cotton fiber made from the lint could be produced much faster than ever before. This made cotton into a huge cash crop.

Related Resources:
The 19th Century
Get a glimpse of what life was like in the exciting 1800s.

Elsewhere on the Web:
The Cotton Gin
Learn more about this famous invention.

Picture of a Cotton Gin
See what one really looked like.

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