Cotton Gin Facts for Kids

A Picture of a Cotton Gin

This web page contains cotton gin facts for kids and is an excellent resource for anyone of any age looking to learn about the cotton gin. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, up to date facts about the cotton gin. In addition to facts about the cottin gin, we provide additional resources to help you with your research this life changing invention.

The cotton gin facts below will help you learn about who invented the cotton gin, why the cotton gin was invented, how the cotton gin works, the different types of cotton gins and other cotton gin related facts. We hope these cottin gin facts are interesting and help you learn more about this revolutionary invention.

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24 Cotton Gin Facts for Kids

  1. A cotton gin is a machine used to separate cotton fibers from their seeds.
  2. The cotton gin is a shortened phrase for cotton engine.
  3. The cotton gin greatly increased the profitability of cotton farming.
  4. The cotton gin was invented by American inventor Eli Whitney in 1774.
  5. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin patent number was 72X.
  6. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin was able to produce about 50 pounds of lint a day.
  7. Prior to the cotton gin, seeds were removed from cotton fibers by hand.
  8. It was estimated that slaves could only produce one pound of cotton lint a day.
  9. The seeds removed from cotton were saved and either replanted or used to create oil.
  10. There are claims that Eli Whitney got the idea for the cotton gin when watching a cat trying to claw at a chicken inside a wooden coop and kept getting it’s paws full of feathers.
  11. Some historians claim Catharine Littlefield Greene played a major role in the creation of Whitney’s cotton gin.
  12. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin only worked on short-staple cotton and would damage extra-long staple cotton.
  13. By the 1890s, there were over 300 different cotton gin patents.
  14. American machinist Fones McCarthy invented a cotton gin in 1840 that worked with both short-staple and extra-long staple cotton. At the time, McCarthy’s gin was the fastest on the market and could produce between 150 and 200 pounds of lint a day from just one horse.
  15. A small cotton gin would have been hand-powered and worked by a slave.
  16. A large cotton gin would have been horse or water wheel powered.
  17. The Southern United States was producing two-thirds of the world’s cotton supply by 1860.
  18. The invention of the cotton gin turned the Southern United States into the world’s first agricultural powerhouse.
  19. Production of cotton in the United States exploded after the invention of the cotton gin.
  20. Production went from 750,000 bales of cotton in 1830 to 2.85 million barrels in 1850 in the United States.
  21. The demand for slaves in the Southern United States exploded after the invention of the cotton gin.
  22. The invention of the cotton gin is sometimes claimed to be an indirect cause of the American Civil War.
  23. A modern day cotton gin can process up to 33,000 pounds of cotton in one hour.
  24. There is active research into how to turn waste produced by modern day cotton gins into ethanol.

Additional Resources About the Cotton Gin