Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin and Eli Whitney was the inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Whitney was born in Westboro, Mass., on Dec. 8, 1765, and died on Jan. 8, 1825. He graduated from Yale College in 1792. By April 1793, Whitney had designed and constructed the cotton gin, a machine that automated the separation of cottonseed from the short-staple cotton fiber. Eli Whitney's machine could produce up to 50 lbs of cleaned cotton daily, making southern cotton a profitable crop for the first time, but Whitney failed to profit from his invention, imitations of his machine appeared, and his 1794 patent was not upheld until 1807. Struggling to make a profit and caught up in legal battles, the partners finally agreed to license gins at a reasonable price. In 1802, South Carolina agreed to purchase Eli Whitney's patent right for $50,000 but delayed in paying it. The partners also arranged to sell the patent rights to North Carolina and Tennessee. By the time even the Georgia courts recognized the wrongs done to Eli Whitney, only one year of his patent remained. In 1808 and again in 1812 he humbly petitioned Congress for a renewal of his patent. In 1798, Eli Whitney invented a way to manufacture muskets (guns) by machine so that the parts were interchangeable. Ironically, it was as a manufacturer of muskets that Whitney finally became rich. Background on the Cotton Gin The cotton gin is a device for removing the seeds from cotton fiber. American cotton is short-staple cotton. The cottonseed in Colonial America was removed by hand, usually the work of slaves. Eli Whitney's machine was the first to clean short-staple cotton. His cotton engine consisted of spiked teeth mounted on a boxed revolving cylinder which, when turned by a crank, pulled the cotton fiber through small slotted openings so as to separate the seeds from the lint. The gins later became horse-drawn and water-powered gins and cotton production increased, along with lowered costs. Cotton soon became the number one selling textile. After the invention of the cotton gin, the yield of raw cotton doubled each decade after 1800. Demand was fueled by other inventions of the Industrial Revolution, such as the machines to spin and weave it and the steamboat to transport it. By mid-century America was growing three-quarters of the world's supply of cotton, most of it shipped to England or New England where it was manufactured into cloth. James Watt In 1757 James Watt became instrument maker for the University of Glasgow. There he developed his lifelong interest in steam engines. Watt became acquainted with the Newcomen engine when he was repairing the University's model of it. After careful consideration Watt understood that the Newcomen engine model used too much steam. The steam was being used in reheating the cylinder after each injection of cold water. Watt built a first engine model and decided that the steam would to go in the cylinder above the piston. The cylinder was closed with a cap with a stuffing box for the rod to pass through. The steam helped atmospheric pressure to drive the piston down. In 1769 Watt sought and obtained a patent for a "new method for lessening the consumption of steam and fuel in fire engines". When Watt gained support for developing his engine from the great Birmingham manufacturer, Matthew Boulton, he started manufacturing engines. In 1776, he built an engine with a cylinder of 127 cm diameter to pump water at Bloomfield Colliery. In the same year Wilkinson, iron master, built a new type of lathe. This lathe made possible to bore a cylinder with a precision, which had never before been seen. The final version of the new Watt engine worked in 1778. In 1782 Watt made his double- acting engine with this improvement the engine had double the power with the same displacement. To further save coal, the steam was admitted inside the cylinder for a fraction of the stroke, which continued, by steam expansion. Watt never developed engines that were powerful for their weight, because he refused to use high-pressure steam. He feared that could not make the boiler and engine strong enough to withstand such pressure with the iron and workmanship of the time. He did, however, make minor improvements, such as the steam governor that now is named "Watt's governor". Jethro Tull (1674-1741) Born into Berkshire upper class, Tull studied law at Gray's Inn in preparation for a highflying political career. However, continuing illness stalled these plans and, after his marriage in 1699, he began farming with his father in Wallingford. He was not a natural: he hated the work and resented the reduction in profits caused by his laborers' salaries. At the time, seeds were distributed into furrows ('drilling') by hand. However, Tull had noticed that traditional heavy sowing densities were not very efficient so he instructed his staff to drill at very precise, low densities. By 1701, his frustration with their lack of co- operation prompted him to invent a machine to do the work for him. Inspired by the memory of an organ he had once taken apart; he designed his drill with a rotating cylinder. Grooves were cut into the cylinder to allow seed to pass from the hopper above to a funnel below. They were then directed into a channel dug by a plough at the front of the machine, then immediately covered by a harrow attached to the rear. Initially the machine was only a limited success. In 1709 he moved to Prosperous Farm in Hungerford, and two years later decided to travel around Europe to improve his health and study agricultural techniques there. Upon his return in 1714, he perfected both his system and machinery. He pulverized the earth between the rows, believing that this released nutrients and so would act as a substitute for manure. While apparently successful - he grew wheat in the same field for 13 successive years without manuring - it is more likely that he merely prevented weeds from overcrowding and competing with the seed. Eventually, as agricultural improvement became fashionable, more interest began to be taken in Tull's ideas. In 1731 he published his book, The New Horse Hoeing Husbandry, detailing his system and its machinery. While several other mechanical seed drills had also been invented, Tull's complete system was a major influence on the agricultural revolution and its impact can still be seen in today's methods and machinery. Robert Arkwright But one fact that cannot be denied is that the man who started his life as a lowly barber in Bolton became the first greatest early industrialist, developing the factory system that turned Britain into the workshop of the world, bringing riches to a few but misery to millions. At the age of 30, the ambitious Arkwright bought himself a tavern, the Black Boy, in Bolton, and he also started making wigs, traveling all over the North West buying up human hair to use in his trade. During these travels he heard about the race to perfect a practical spinning machine. Seven miles down the road from Bolton is Leigh, where reed maker Thomas Highs lived, while a little further on is Warrington, home of clockmaker John Kay (no relation to the Kay who invented the flying shuttle). Desperate to keep Kay away from Highs, who knew nothing of what was going on, Arkwright employed the clockmaker as his servant and took him with him, first to Manchester, then Liverpool and on to Preston. Kay, helped by two other local craftsmen, built a full-size version of what was to become the water frame, a machine that used three sets of rollers, spinning at increasingly faster speeds, to draw out the cotton roving before a twist was imparted. Arkwright moved back to Preston, taking Kay with him, then to Nottingham in April 1768, to avoid the attentions of machine-breakers who were busy in Lancashire. There they set up a small mill in a district of the city, close to Hargreaves's jenny mill. This saw the start of a massive expansion of the cotton trade, and it was given a further boost in 1774 when the Government ended the crippling import tax on raw cotton, which had been imposed to protect the British wool industry. Arkwright's lasting achievement, perhaps, was in doing for cotton what others had done for silk - and with the potential market for cheap cotton products so much bigger, his efforts inevitably triggered that enormous leap in national productivity that became known as the Industrial Revolution. Samuel Crompton (1753-1827) Samuel Crompton, the son of a small farmer, was born in Bolton, in 1753. Later he moved to Darwen, a small village 9 miles north of Bolton. After working at various jobs he set out to invent a spinning machine that would improve on the Spinning Jenny that had been produced by James Hargreaves. In 1775 Crompton produced his Spinning Mule, so called because it was a hybrid that combined features of two earlier inventions, the Spinning Jenny and the Water Frame. The mule produced a strong, fine and soft yarn, which could be used in all kinds of textiles, but was particularly suited to the production of muslins. Crompton was too poor to apply for a patent and so he sold the rights to a Bolton manufacturer. The first mules were hand-operated and could be used at home. By the 1790s larger versions were built with as many as 400 spindles. David Dale was quick to see the potential of the mule and purchased several for his factory in New Lanark, Scotland. The Spinning Mule could also be driven by the new steam engines that were being produced by James Watt and Matthew Boulton. A large number of factory owners purchased Crompton's mules, but because he had sold the rights for his machine, he made no money from these sales. Robert Peel was one of those who felt sorry for Crompton and in 1812 arranged for the House of Commons to grant him a reward of £5000. Crompton used the money to invest in a cotton factory but the venture ended in failure. Samuel Crompton died in poverty in Bolton in 1827. Edmund Cartwright Edmund Cartwright, the son of a large landowner from Nottingham, was born in 1743. After being educated at University College, Oxford, Cartwright became a pastor of the church at Goadby Marwood in Leicestershire. In 1784 Cartwright visited a factory owned by Richard Arkwright. Inspired by what he saw, he began working on a machine that would improve the speed and quality of weaving. Employing a blacksmith and a carpenter to help him, Cartwright managed to produce what he called a power loom. He took out a patent for his machine in 1785, but at this stage it performed poorly. In 1787 Cartwright opened a weaving mill in Doncaster and two years later began using steam engines produced by James Watt and Matthew Boulton, to drive his looms. All operations that had been previously been done by the weaver's hands and feet, could now be performed mechanically. The main task of the weavers employed by Cartwright was repairing broken threads on the machine. Although these power looms were now performing well, Cartwright was a poor businessman and he eventually went bankrupt. Cartwright now took out a patent for a wool-combing machine (1790) and an alcohol engine (1797). In 1799 a Manchester company purchased 400 of Cartwright's power looms but soon afterwards workers who feared they would lose their jobs burned their factory to the ground. This incident influenced other manufacturers from not buying Cartwright's machines. By the early part of the 19th century a large number of factory owners were using a modified version of Cartwright's power loom. When Cartwright discovered what was happening he applied to the House of Commons for compensation. Parliament voted him a lump sum of £10,000. Edmund Cartwright now retired to a farm in Kent where he died in 1823. George Stephenson George Stephenson was born at Wylam, eight miles from Newcastle, on 9th June 1781. The cottage where the Stephenson family lived was next to the Wylam Wagonway, and George grew up with a keen interest in machines. In 1802 Stephenson became an engineman. When he was twenty-seven, Stephenson found employment as an engineman at Killingworth Colliery. Every Saturday he took the engines to pieces in order to understand how they were constructed. This included machines made by Thomas Newcomen and James Watt. By 1812 Stephenson's knowledge of engines resulted in him being employed as the colliery's engine- wright. In 1813 Stephenson successfully convinced his colliery manager, his to allow him to try to produce a steam-powered machine. By 1814 he had constructed a locomotive that could pull thirty tons up a hill at 4 mph. Stephenson called his locomotive, the Blütcher, and like other machines made at this time, it had two vertical cylinders let into the boiler, from the pistons of which rods drove the gears. Where Stephenson's locomotive differed from those produced by John Blenkinsop and William Hedley was that the gears did not drive the rack pinions but the flanged wheels. The Blütcher was the first successful flanged-wheel locomotive. Stephenson continued to try and improve his locomotive and in 1815 he changed the design so that the connecting rods drove the wheels directly. In 1819 he was given the task of building an eight-mile railroad from Hetton to Sunderland. While he was working on this Stephenson became convinced that to be successful, steam railways had to be made as level as possible by civil engineering works. The track was laid out in sections. Locomotives worked the first part; fixed engines and cables followed this. George Stephenson only used fixed engines and locomotives and had therefore produced the first ever railway that was completely independent of animal power. Work on the track began in 1822. George Stephenson used malleable iron rails carried on cast iron chairs. These rails were laid on wooden blocks for 12 miles between Stockton and Darlington. The 15 mile track from the collieries and Darlington were laid on stone blocks. The line was opened on 27th September 1825. Large crowds saw George Stephenson at the controls of the Locomotion as it pulled 36 wagons filled with sacks of coal and flour. The initial journey of just under 9 miles took two hours. Robert Fulton Often credited with inventing the steamboat, Robert Fulton was actually the man who put the design into practice. As a young man, Fulton dreamed of becoming a painter and went to Paris to study. His commissions were few, and he turned to engineering and inventions. In Paris, Fulton designed an experimental submarine, which caught the eye of the wealthy Robert Livingston. Livingston was then the American ambassador to France. Livingston convinced Fulton to return to the United States and concentrate on steamboat design. Fulton's first boat, the Clermont, was tested on the Hudson River. Fulton had shipped a small steam engine from England and constructed a hull similar to that of Fast Ocean going ships. In the hull, he placed the engine, and on each side, a primitive paddle wheel. At the test in 1807, the Clermont initially failed; however, after a few adjustments to the engine, the boat carried on its way to Albany. It had moved against the Hudson current at an average of five miles an hour. Ecstatic, Livingston and Fulton planned to expand. Through Livingston's influence, the two men obtained exclusive rights to run steamboats on New York Rivers, as well as on the lower end of the Mississippi. Livingston recognized that the real need for steamboats lay not on the Atlantic rivers, but more urgently on the western veins and tributaries. The next large steamboat, the New Orleans, was constructed in a Pittsburgh boatyard and launched in the fall of 1811 on the Ohio. The boat did well until it reached Louisville, where it began to scrape the bottom; the hull of the New Orleans sat too low in the water for a western river of sandbars and snags. More than three months after leaving Pittsburgh, the boat arrived in New Orleans. When it attempted to return to Pittsburgh, however, the crew found that the New Orleans was unable to move against the current above Natchez. Stuck, the boat spent the last two years of its life running between Natchez and New Orleans; finally it ran aground and sank. Someone needed to invent a more powerful steamboat with a flatter bottom to navigate the inland rivers. Fulton and Livingston bowed out at this point, backing away to concentrate on their eastern investments. Many people resented them in the western territories; tired of eastern failures, those along the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers turned to one of their own. The withdrawal of Fulton and Livingston allowed the rise of Henry Miller Shreve. Sir Henry Bessemer (1813-1898) In 1854 he devised a very accurate, spinning mortar shell. Although the War Office showed no interest, Bessemer traveled to France to showcase his new design. However, he had to invent stronger metal - cast steel - as the existing cast guns were too weak and kept cracking. At the time ships, railway lines, pipes and bridges were made from either cast or wrought iron. Wrought iron - made by working red-hot solid iron bars - is almost pure iron, with very little carbon. Consequently it is not brittle, and will bend rather than snap. Cast iron is very versatile, as it can be poured into moulds when molten and cast into complicated shapes, but is very brittle. What Bessemer wanted was a material that was as malleable as wrought iron, but could be cast in moulds to make strong cannon. Cast steel had been around since the 1750s and was ideal for his purposes, but could only be made in fifty-pound batches, insufficient for cannon. It also took a long time in the furnace, making it extremely expensive. Henry started experimenting with a small furnace, melting some steel in a bath of molten pig iron. Blowing air over the surface to raise the temperature to melt the steel, he noticed that a lump or two of pig iron would not melt. He discovered that this was because it was now steel; the air had burnt off the carbon from the surface of the iron. He realized that if he could expose enough of the molten iron to the air he could convert it all into steel by burning off the carbon, so he made a new furnace with a hole in the top and tried to bubble air through the molten iron. The air blast burned off the excess carbon in the pig iron, and the reaction produced sufficient heat to keep the steel red-hot after the iron has melted, dispelling the need for any further expensive fuel. Bessemer's process was ten times faster than the previous methods and used no fuel once the charge had been melted. It could make thirty tons at once, rather than fifty pounds. Bessemer was knighted in 1879 and awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society. His process was used all over the world until the 1970s. Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729) ALTHOUGH Thomas Newcomen was dead before the Industrial Revolution really got under way, his steam engine was the first powered device designed to help industry. Used as a pump, it cleared water from the mines and opened up new and deeper seams of coal, tin and copper. Many men had experimented with steam power before Newcomen, but he was the first to bring together all the vital elements in one successful package - the cylinder, piston and separate boiler. But the Dartmouth blacksmith and ironmonger found himself in a predicament when he designed his engine. Thomas Savery (1650-1715) had filed a patent in 1698 for "an engine to raise water by the impellant force of fire. To avoid infringing Savery's patent, Newcomen was forced to go into partnership with him. But Newcomen's design, the first real engine ever made, was far superior and it possessed all the basic features of machines being built more than a century later. A boiler was connected to a cylinder, in which the pressure of steam lifted a piston. At the top of the stroke, cold water was sprayed into the cylinder. This condensed the steam, causing a vacuum, and atmospheric pressure acting on the top of the open cylinder forced the piston down again, completing the cycle. It was this downward stroke, rather than the upward, steam-induced one, that was the power stroke, so the device became known as an atmospheric engine. Newcomen's engine had more than a few drawbacks, notable among which was its inefficiency. It was expensive to run because the cold-water spray, besides condensing the steam, also cooled the cylinder, which was heated again at the next cycle. Constant heating and cooling meant the boiler required more fuel, but this was not a problem. The first Newcomen engine went into operation in 1712. It was the first of many which helped power the early part of the Industrial Revolution.
Pages to are hidden for
"Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin and"Please download to view full document