What did inventor Eli Whitney receive a patent for on this day in 1794?
Answer: On March 14, 1794, American inventor Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin, a machine that revolutionized the production of cotton by greatly speeding up the process of removing seeds from cotton fiber. By the mid-19th century, cotton had become America’s leading export. Despite its success, the gin made little money for Whitney due to patent-infringement issues. Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States.
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, allowing for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation. The fibers are then processed into various cotton goods such as linens, while any undamaged cotton is used largely for textiles like clothing.