About The Cotton Gin
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, allowing for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation. The fibers are processed into clothing or other cotton goods, and any undamaged cotton was used for clothes. Seeds may be used to grow more cotton or to produce cottonseed oil and meal.
Although simple handheld roller gins have been used in India and other countries since at least 500 AD, the first modern mechanical cotton gin was created by American inventor Eli Whitney in 1793 and patented in 1794. It used a combination of a wire screen and small wire hooks to pull the cotton through, while brushes continuously removed the loose cotton lint to prevent jams. Whitney's gin revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States, but also led to the growth of slavery in the American South as the demand for cotton workers rapidly increased. The invention has then been identified as a contributing factor to the outbreak of the American Civil War.