|Biographical Sketch of Eli Whitney|
Whitney was born in Westboro, Massachusetts, on December 8, 1765, and educated at Yale College (now Yale University). In 1792 he visited the plantation, near Savannah, Georgia, of Catharine Greene, widow of the American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. There he designed and built a model for a machine that would separate the seeds from the fibers of the short-staple cotton plant, work that until that time had been done by hand. He completed the machine-the first cotton gin-in 1793. This invention had a great impact on the development of the southern United States. With the gin, cotton could be cleaned so efficiently that it became the most important crop in the South and the basis of the region's profitable agricultural economy.
Whitney entered into partnership with the plantation manager, Phineas Miller, to manufacture cotton gins at New Haven, Connecticut. A disastrous factory fire prevented the partners from making enough gins to meet the demand, and manufacturers throughout the South began to copy the invention. Although Whitney and Miller received a patent on the gin in 1794, a decision protecting their patent was not rendered until 1807. In 1812, the Congress of the United States denied Whitney's petition for renewal of the patent. In all, he profited very little from his invention.
In 1798 Whitney turned to the large-scale manufacture of firearms. After signing a contract to supply the federal government with 10,000 military muskets, he built a factory near New Haven, at present-day Hamden, in which he experimented with a system of manufacturing standardized, interchangeable parts. He died in New Haven on January 8, 1825.
"Whitney, Eli," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
|Eli Whitney Lineage|
Kansas Pioneer Eleanor (Fisher) Baldwin was a first cousin, twice removed, from Eli Whitney. To position yourself from Eli, just count generations you are from Eleanor and add that number of generations to two. You will be first cousin, _xx_ removed.
This is Eli's Whitney line:
|John and Elinor (_____) Whitney - Immigrant||John and Elinor (_____) Whitney - Immigrant|
|John and Ruth (Reynolds) Whitney||John and Ruth (Reynolds) Whitney|
|Nathaniel and Sarah (Hagar) Whitney I||Nathaniel and Sarah (Hagar) Whitney I|
|Nathaniel and Mercy (Robinson) Whitney II||Nathaniel and Mercy (Robinson) Whitney II|
|Nathaniel and Mary (Child) Whitney III||Nathaniel and Mary (Child) Whitney III|
|Eli and Elizabeth (Fay) Whitney, Sr.||Nathaniel and Abigail (Joslin) Whitney IV|
|Abigail Whitney m Elijah Bruce|
|Abigail Bruce m Nehemiah Fisher|
|Eleanor Fisher m Henry Gilbert Baldwin|
|Eli Whitney Links:|
The History of Mulberry Grove Plantation page is a page about the plantation where Eli invented the cotton gin. There is quite a bit of interesting material and links at that page.
The Industrial Revolution Home Page
Eli mentioned in contrasting
England vs American contributions to the Industrial Revolution.