cotton gin


cotton gin
a machine for separating the fibers of cotton from the seeds.
[1790-1800, Amer.]

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Machine for cleaning cotton of its seeds.

The design that became standard was invented in the U.S. by Eli Whitney in 1793. The mechanization of spinning in England had created a greatly expanded market for U.S. cotton, but production was bottlenecked by the manual removal of the seeds from the raw fibre. The cotton gin pulled the cotton through a set of wire teeth mounted on a revolving cylinder, the fibre passing through narrow slots in an iron breastwork too small to permit passage of the seed. The simplicity of the invention caused it to be widely copied. It is credited with making cotton the most important export crop of the U.S. before the American Civil War, as settlers and their slaves spread westward through prime cotton-growing regions of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.

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 machine for cleaning cotton of its seeds, invented in the United States by Eli Whitney (Whitney, Eli) in 1793. The cotton gin is an example of an invention directly called forth by an immediate demand; the mechanization of spinning in England had created a greatly expanded market for American cotton, whose production was inhibited by the slowness of manual removal of the seeds from the raw fibre. Whitney, a Massachusetts Yankee visiting a friend in the South, learned of the problem and quickly solved it with a device that pulled the cotton through a set of wire teeth mounted on a revolving cylinder, the fibre passing through narrow slots in an iron breastwork too small to permit passage of the seed. The simplicity of the invention—which could be powered by man, animal, or water—caused it to be widely copied despite Whitney's patent; it is credited with fixing cotton cultivation, virtually to the exclusion of other crops, in the U.S. South and so institutionalizing slavery.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cotton gin — Cotton Cot ton (k[o^]t t n), n. [F. coton, Sp. algodon the cotton plant and its wool, coton printed cotton, cloth, fr. Ar. qutun, alqutun, cotton wool. Cf. {Acton}, {Hacqueton}.] 1. A soft, downy substance, resembling fine wool, consisting of the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cotton gin — n [Date: 1700 1800; Origin: gin machine 1300 1400 From Old French engin engine ] a machine that separates the seeds of a cotton plant from the cotton …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cotton gin — ☆ cotton gin n. [see GIN2] a machine for separating cotton fibers from the seeds …   English World dictionary

  • Cotton Gin —   [ kɔtn dʒɪn, englisch], von E. Whitney 1793 erfundenes einfaches Gerät, das durch Entkernung der kurzfaserigen amerikanischen Baumwolle deren Verarbeitung und damit ihren Anbau rentabel machte und somit die Voraussetzung für die Ausbreitung der …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Cotton gin — Eli Whitney s cotton gin patent, March 14, 1794 …   Wikipedia

  • cotton gin — noun a machine that separates the seeds from raw cotton fibers • Syn: ↑gin • Derivationally related forms: ↑gin (for: ↑gin) • Hypernyms: ↑machine * * * noun, pl ⋯ gins [cou …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cotton Gin — Patent für Cotton Gin vom 14. März 1794 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cotton gin — Le Cotton gin, inventé en 1793 en Georgie par l américain Eli Whitney, est une machine égreneuse, pour séparer la graine du coton de sa fibre. La machine, précédée par l invention en 1778[1] du roller gin[2] par Kinsey Burden[3], planteur de coto …   Wikipédia en Français

  • cotton gin — cot′ton gin n. tex a machine for separating the fibers of cotton from the seeds Also called gin II, 1) Etymology: 1790–1800, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • cotton gin — noun a) A machine used for separating cotton fibers from cotton seeds, etc. b) Any mechanism that separates one person from another, whether it be distance, time, or apathy …   Wiktionary


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