In a little cabin lit by sunlight through a rusty window, a young boy was taking apart his father's watch. His family had gone to church leaving him at home because he claimed he was too sick to go to church. The little boy's parents had no idea that their son had taken apart the watch to see how it worked and after serious examination, he had put it back together making it work as good as new. They also had no idea that their oldest son would become a famous American inventor-Eli Whitney.
Eli Whitney was born in the year 1765 in Westborough, Massachusetts. When Eli was 12, he made a violin. Eli Whitney was born to be good with tools. Eli Whitney spent many of his childhood hours tinkering with tools in his father's workshop, which was used to make and repair furniture. But life was going too fast for young Eli Whitney.
Whitney had already started a business when the Revolutionary War started. His business sold nails. It (his business) ran very smoothly, however, Whitney soon began another business when the Revolutionary War ended selling hatpins and men's walking sticks.
When Whitney was 19, he decided that he wanted to attend college. When he was younger, he didn't get a very good education. So, Eli Whitney tried out for Yale College and he passed the exam. His schedule was very busy. Finally, Eli Whitney graduated from Yale at age 28.
After he graduated from Yale, he needed money very quickly because he spent much of his money for college. However, help almost came immediately. There was a vacant spot for a tutor in South Carolina. He didn't want to go to the South because he thought that that was where his bad luck would start. However, he had no choice. On his way there, he got a sickness called smallpox.
While traveling to South Carolina, he met a lady called Mrs. Catherine Greene. She was the wife of a general in the Revolutionary War, Nathaniel Greene, who had died in the war. Mrs. Greene asked him if he would like to visit her largest estate, called Mulberry Grove. Whitney decided that he would accept the invitation. When he did go to Mrs. Greene's estate, he figured out that his job offer was already taken. So he decided not even bother go to South Carolina. At Mulberry Grove, cotton planters were telling each other their problem with cotton. Only green seed grew (a type of cotton) in South America. It was very hard to clean. Even though it was hard work, many farmers depended on it to survive because they sold it and made clothes out of it. The cotton planters told Whitney that a machine that would clean out green seed cotton would be a miracle. Eli Whitney hoped he could help these farmers and make money at the same time, so everyday he would work on a machine that would clean out cotton. Within a week, Eli Whitney came up with a tiny working model of the cotton gin. The Mulberry Manager soon offered Whitney money for the rights of his invention. However, they formed a partnership instead. For the rest of the winter months Whitney worked in the Mulberry Grove basement. By June, Whitney had made the new cotton gin he spent many months on. His machine was a big success because it cleaned the cotton 10 times better than any man could.
Miller and Mrs. Catherine Green urged Whitney to get a patent for his invention. At the time, patent laws were just made. The patent made sure that only the inventor had the right to sell the invention. Whitney went to get a patent, but he didn't dare show anyone his gin in fear that they might copy it and sell it before he could get a patent in his hands. But, he still did a most regretful thing, which was letting Miller advertise the gin in a newspaper and letting other planter examine the new machine.
Many people came to buy the gin but left disappointed because they couldn't afford a $500 gin. But, there were also many rich people that wanted to buy the gin. The partners just couldn't make the gins fast enough, which caused great commotion.
In 1794 Whitney's patent was granted. By then, everybody in America knew about the cotton gin. But, you'd expect this to be the end of Whitney's troubles. Well, you're completely, 100% wrong. A fire had destroyed Whitney's workshop and he lost many tools that were used to make the gin. When Whitney went looking for those parts in some stores, he found that they were too expensive.
That tragic day started the beginning of Eli Whitney's gin problem. The shop was soon rebuilt but the fire had caused many years of frustration. Many people