ELI WHITNEY Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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Eli Whitney (December 8, 1765 - January 8, 1825) was an American inventor and           
manufacturer who is credited with creating the first cotton gin in 1793. The             
cotton gin was a mechanical device which removed the seeds from cotton, a               
process which was until that time extremely labor-intensive.                             
Whitney's greatest contribution to American industry was the development and             
implementation of the American System of manufacturing and the assembly line,           
which he was the first to use when producing muskets for the U.S. Government.           
Whitney's concepts were later exploited by Henry Ford and others in                     
There exists question today over whether the cotton gin, which Whitney received         
a patent for on March 14, 1794, and its constituent elements should rightly be           
attributed to Eli Whitney; some contend that Catherine Littlefield Greene should         
be credited with the invention of the cotton gin, or at least its conception. It         
is known that she associated with Eli Whitney (along with other historical               
figures such as George and Martha Washington). Some historians believe that this         
invention allowed for the African slavery system in the Southern United States           
to become more sustainable at a critical point in its development.                       
Born in Westborough, Massachusetts, he was graduated from Yale College in 1792.         
While his ideas were innovative and useful, they were so easy to understand and         
reproduce that the concepts and designs were readily duplicated by others.               
Whitney's company that produced cotton gins went out of business in 1797.