This week in history: Whitney’s cotton gin patented

Eli Whitney © Getty Images
Whitney: responsible for developing the “American system of manufacturing”

Cotton has been cultivated for use in textiles since the fifth century BC. The development of large-scale spinning machines from 1738 onwards made it easier to turn raw fibres into cotton cloth, which led to Manchester becoming an early industrial centre. But the process of clearing the fibres from the seeds was very labour intensive and, while some primitive manual roller-based machines existed, they were clunky and hard to use. The breakthrough came when [...]

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