Eli Whitney
Overview
 
Eli Whitney was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin
Cotton gin
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, a job formerly performed painstakingly by hand...

. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South. Whitney's invention made upland short cotton into a profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery in the United States (regardless
Unintended Consequences
Unintended Consequences is a novel by John Ross, first published in 1996 by Accurate Press. The story chronicles the history of the gun culture, gun rights and gun control in the United States from the early 1900s through the late 1990s...

 of whether Whitney intended that or not). Despite the social and economic impact of his invention, Whitney lost many profits in legal battles over patent infringement for the cotton gin.
Encyclopedia
Eli Whitney was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin
Cotton gin
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, a job formerly performed painstakingly by hand...

. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South. Whitney's invention made upland short cotton into a profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery in the United States (regardless
Unintended Consequences
Unintended Consequences is a novel by John Ross, first published in 1996 by Accurate Press. The story chronicles the history of the gun culture, gun rights and gun control in the United States from the early 1900s through the late 1990s...

 of whether Whitney intended that or not). Despite the social and economic impact of his invention, Whitney lost many profits in legal battles over patent infringement for the cotton gin. Thereafter, he turned his attention into securing contracts with the government in the manufacture of muskets for the newly formed continental army. He continued making arms and inventing until his death in 1825.

Early life

Whitney was born in Westborough
Westborough, Massachusetts
Westborough is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 18,272 at the 2010 census. The town is governed under the New England open town meeting system, headed by a five member elected Board of Selectmen whose duties include licensing, appointing various...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, on December 8, 1765, the eldest child of Eli Whitney Sr., a prosperous farmer, and his wife Elizabeth Fay of Westborough.

Although the younger Eli, born in 1765, could technically be called a "Junior", history has never known him as such. He was famous during his lifetime and afterward by the name "Eli Whitney". His son, born in 1820, also named Eli, was well known during his lifetime and afterward by the name "Eli Whitney, Jr."

Whitney's mother, Elizabeth Fay, died in 1777, when he was 11. At age 14 he operated a profitable nail manufacturing operation in his father's workshop during the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

.

Because his stepmother opposed his wish to attend college, Whitney worked as a farm laborer and schoolteacher to save money. He prepared for Yale
YALE
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...

 at Leicester Academy (now Becker College
Becker College
Becker College is a college in Massachusetts, United States with campuses in Worcester and Leicester. Established in 1887, Becker College is home to two distinct campuses located in Worcester and Leicester, Massachusetts...

) and under the tutelage of Rev. Elizur Goodrich of Durham
Durham, Connecticut
Durham is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. Durham is a former farming village on the Coginchaug River in central Connecticut. The population was 6,627 at the 2000 census. Every autumn, the town hosts the Durham Fair, the largest volunteer agricultural fair in New...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, he entered the Class of 1789, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1792. Whitney expected to study law but, finding himself short of funds, accepted an offer to go to South Carolina as a private tutor.

Instead of reaching his destination, he was convinced to visit Georgia. In the closing years of the 18th century, Georgia was a magnet for New Englanders seeking their fortunes (its Revolutionary-era governor had been Lyman Hall
Lyman Hall
Lyman Hall , physician, clergyman, and statesman, was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia. Hall County is named after him.-Early life and family:...

, a migrant from Connecticut). When he initially sailed for South Carolina, among his shipmates were the widow and family of Revolutionary hero, Gen. Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United...

 of Rhode Island. Mrs. Greene
Catherine Littlefield Greene
Catharine Littlefield "Caty" Greene was the wife of American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene, a mother of five, and noted for being a supporter of inventor Eli Whitney.-Early life:...

 invited Whitney to visit her Georgia plantation, Mulberry Grove
Mulberry Grove Plantation
Mulberry Grove Plantation, located north of Port Wentworth, Chatham County, Savannah, was once a thriving rice plantation, notable for the location where Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin....

. Her plantation manager and husband-to-be was Phineas Miller, another Connecticut migrant and Yale graduate (Class of 1785), who would become Whitney's business partner.

Whitney is most famous for two innovations which later divided the United States in the mid-19th century: the cotton gin
Cotton gin
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, a job formerly performed painstakingly by hand...

 (1793) and his advocacy of interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts are parts that are, for practical purposes, identical. They are made to specifications that ensure that they are so nearly identical that they will fit into any device of the same type. One such part can freely replace another, without any custom fitting...

. In the South, the cotton gin revolutionized the way cotton was harvest
Harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

ed and reinvigorated slavery. In the North the adoption of interchangeable parts revolutionized the manufacturing industry, and contributed greatly to their victory in the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

Interchangeable parts

Whitney has often been incorrectly credited with inventing the idea of interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts are parts that are, for practical purposes, identical. They are made to specifications that ensure that they are so nearly identical that they will fit into any device of the same type. One such part can freely replace another, without any custom fitting...

, which he championed for years as a maker of musket
Musket
A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

s; however, the idea predated Whitney, and Whitney's role in it was one of promotion and popularizing, not invention. Successful implementation
Implementation
Implementation is the realization of an application, or execution of a plan, idea, model, design, specification, standard, algorithm, or policy.-Computer Science:...

 of the idea eluded Whitney, but it finally happened near the end of his life, occurring first in others' armories.

Attempts at interchangeability of parts can be traced back as far as the Punic Wars
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

 through both archaeological remains of boats now in Museo Archeologico Baglio Anselmi and contemporary written accounts. In modern times the idea developed over decades among many people. An early leader was Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval, an 18th century French artillerist
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

, who created a fair amount of standardization
Standardization
Standardization is the process of developing and implementing technical standards.The goals of standardization can be to help with independence of single suppliers , compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality....

 of artillery pieces, although not true interchangeability of parts. He inspired others, including Honoré Blanc
Honoré Blanc
Honoré Blanc was a French gunsmith and a pioneer of the use of interchangeable parts.He was born in Avignon in 1736 and apprenticed to the gun-making trade at the age of twelve...

 and Louis de Tousard
Louis de Tousard
Louis de Tousard was a French artillerist who served in the American Continental Army under La Fayette, and later was given a US commission...

, to work further on the idea, and on shoulder weapons as well as artillery. In the 19th century these efforts produced the "armory system," or American system of manufacturing
American system of manufacturing
The American system of manufacturing was a set of manufacturing methods that evolved in the 19th century. It involved semi-skilled labor using machine tools and jigs to make standardized, identical, interchangeable parts, manufactured to a tolerance, which could be assembled with a minimum of time...

. Certain other New Englanders, including Captain John H. Hall
Captain John H. Hall
John Harris Hall was the inventor of the M1819 Hall breech-loading rifle, and a mass production innovator.-Early life:Hall was born in 1781 in Portland, Maine. He worked in his father's tannery until setting up his own woodworking and boat building shop in 1810 where he tinkered with guns in his...

 and Simeon North
Simeon North
Simeon North was a Middletown, Connecticut, gun manufacturer, who developed one of America's first milling machines in 1818 and played an important role in the development of interchangeable parts manufacturing.North was born in Berlin, Connecticut, into a prosperous family able to provide all...

, arrived at successful interchangeability before Whitney's armory did. The Whitney armory finally succeeded not long after his death in 1825.

The motives behind Whitney's acceptance of a contract to manufacture muskets in 1798 were mostly monetary. By the late 1790s, Whitney was on the verge of bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 and the cotton gin litigation had left him deeply in debt
Debt
A debt is an obligation owed by one party to a second party, the creditor; usually this refers to assets granted by the creditor to the debtor, but the term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value.A debt is created when a...

. His New Haven cotton gin factory had burned to the ground, and litigation sapped his remaining resources. The French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 had ignited new conflicts between Great Britain, France, and the United States. The new American government, realizing the need to prepare for war, began to rearm. The War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 issued contracts for the manufacture of 10,000 muskets. Whitney, who had never made a gun in his life, obtained a contract in January 1798 to deliver 10,000 to 15,000 muskets in 1800. He had not mentioned interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts are parts that are, for practical purposes, identical. They are made to specifications that ensure that they are so nearly identical that they will fit into any device of the same type. One such part can freely replace another, without any custom fitting...

 at that time. Ten months later, Treasury Secretary Wolcott
Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. was United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1795 to 1800 and the 24th Governor of Connecticut from 1817 to 1827.-Youth and education:...

 sent him a "foreign pamphlet on arms manufacturing techniques," possibly one of Honoré Blanc's reports, after which Whitney first began to talk about interchangeability.

In May 1798, Congress voted for legislation that would use eight hundred thousand dollars in order to pay for small arms and cannons in case war with France erupted. They offered a 5,000 dollar incentive with an additional 5,000 dollars once that money was exhausted for the person that was able to accurately produce arms for the government. Because the cotton gin had not brought Whitney the rewards he believed he would get, he accepted the contract. Although the contract was for one year, Whitney did not deliver the arms until eight years later in 1809 using multiple excuses for the delay of such. Recently, historians have found that during 1801-1806, Whitney took the money and headed into South Carolina in order to profit from the cotton gin.

Although Whitney's demonstration of 1801 appeared to show the ingenuity of interchangeable parts, Merritt Roe Smith
Merritt Roe Smith
Merritt Roe Smith is an American historian, and the Leverett and William Cutten Professor of the History of Technology, at MIT.-Life:Smith graduated from Georgetown University, and Pennsylvania State University with a Ph.D...

 concludes that Whitney's demonstration was "staged" and "duped government authorities" into believing that he had created interchangeable parts. The charade was only useful in order to gain more time and resources into the project but not to create interchangeable parts.

When the government complained that Whitney's price per musket compared unfavorably with those produced in government armories, Whitney was able to calculate an actual price per musket by including fixed cost
Fixed cost
In economics, fixed costs are business expenses that are not dependent on the level of goods or services produced by the business. They tend to be time-related, such as salaries or rents being paid per month, and are often referred to as overhead costs...

s such as insurance
Insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

 and machinery, which the government had not included. He thus made early contributions to both the concept of cost accounting
Cost accounting
Cost accounting information is designed for managers. Since managers are taking decisions only for their own organization, there is no need for the information to be comparable to similar information from other organizations...

, and the concept of the efficiency
Efficiency (economics)
In economics, the term economic efficiency refers to the use of resources so as to maximize the production of goods and services. An economic system is said to be more efficient than another if it can provide more goods and services for society without using more resources...

 of private industry.

Cotton gin

The cotton gin
Cotton gin
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, a job formerly performed painstakingly by hand...

 is a mechanical device which removes the seeds from cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, a process which previously had been extremely labor intensive. The word 'gin' is short for engine. The cotton gin was a wooden drum stuck with hooks which pulled the cotton fibers through a mesh. The cotton seeds would not fit through the mesh and fell outside. Whitney occasionally told a story where he was pondering an improved method of seeding the cotton and he was inspired by observing a cat attempting to pull a chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 through a fence, and could only pull through some of the feathers.

A single cotton gin could generate up to 55 pounds (24.9 kg) of cleaned cotton daily. This contributed to the economic development of the Southern states
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 of the United States, a prime cotton growing area; some historians believe that this invention allowed for the African slavery system
History of slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States was a form of slave labor which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the founding of the United States in 1776, and continued mostly in the South until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in...

 in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 to become more sustainable at a critical point in its development.

Whitney received a patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 (later numbered as X72) for his cotton gin on March 14, 1794; however, it was not validated until 1807. Whitney and his partner Miller did not intend to sell the gins. Rather, like the proprietors of grist
Gristmill
The terms gristmill or grist mill can refer either to a building in which grain is ground into flour, or to the grinding mechanism itself.- Early history :...

 and sawmill
Sawmill
A sawmill is a facility where logs are cut into boards.-Sawmill process:A sawmill's basic operation is much like those of hundreds of years ago; a log enters on one end and dimensional lumber exits on the other end....

s, they expected to charge farmers for cleaning their cotton - two-fifths of the value, paid in cotton. Resentment at this scheme, the mechanical simplicity of the device and the primitive state of patent law
History of patent law
The history of patents and patent laws is generally considered to have started in Italy with a Venetian Statute of 1474 which was issued by the Republic of Venice. They issued a decree by which new and inventive devices, once they had been put into practice, had to be communicated to the Republic...

, made infringement
Patent infringement
Patent infringement is the commission of a prohibited act with respect to a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. Permission may typically be granted in the form of a license. The definition of patent infringement may vary by jurisdiction, but it typically includes using or...

 inevitable. Whitney and Miller could not build enough gins to meet demand, so gins from other makers found ready sale. Ultimately, patent infringement lawsuits consumed the profits and their cotton gin company went out of business in 1797. One oft-overlooked point is that there were drawbacks to Whitney's first design. There is significant evidence that the design flaws were solved by plantation owner Catherine Littlefield Greene
Catherine Littlefield Greene
Catharine Littlefield "Caty" Greene was the wife of American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene, a mother of five, and noted for being a supporter of inventor Eli Whitney.-Early life:...

, wife of American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 general Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United...

; Whitney gave her no public credit or recognition.

While the cotton gin did not earn Whitney the fortune he had hoped for, it did give him fame.

It has been argued by some historians that Whitney's cotton gin was an important if unintended cause of the American Civil War. Before the invention of the cotton gin, slavery had been on the decline
Decline
Decline is a change over time from previously efficient to inefficient organizational functioning, from previously rational to non-rational organizational and individual decision-making, from previously law-abiding to law violating organizational and individual behavior, from previously virtuous to...

; in fact many slaveholders had even given away their slaves, including George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

. After Whitney's invention, the plantation slavery
Plantations in the American South
Plantations were an important aspect of the history of the American South, particularly the antebellum .-Planter :The owner of a plantation was called a planter...

 industry was rejuvenated, eventually culminating in the Civil War.

And the cotton gin transformed Southern agriculture and the national economy. Southern cotton found ready markets in Europe and in the burgeoning textile mill
Cotton mill
A cotton mill is a factory that houses spinning and weaving machinery. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution....

s of New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

. Cotton exports from the U.S. boomed after the cotton gin's appearance - from less than 500000 pounds (226,796.2 kg) in 1793 to 93 million pounds by 1810. Cotton was a staple that could be stored for long periods and shipped long distances, unlike most agricultural products. It became the U.S.'s chief export, representing over half the value of U.S. exports from 1820 to 1860.

Paradoxically, the cotton gin, a labor-saving device, helped preserve slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 in the U.S. Before the 1790s, slave labor was primarily employed in growing rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, and indigo
Indigo
Indigo is a color named after the purple dye derived from the plant Indigofera tinctoria and related species. The color is placed on the electromagnetic spectrum between about 420 and 450 nm in wavelength, placing it between blue and violet...

, none of which were especially profitable any more. Neither was cotton, due to the difficulty of seed removal. But with the gin, growing cotton with slave labor became highly profitable - the chief source of wealth in the American South, and the basis of frontier settlement from Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 to Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. "King Cotton
King Cotton
King Cotton was a slogan used by southerners to support secession from the United States by arguing cotton exports would make an independent Confederacy economically prosperous, and—more important—would force Great Britain and France to support the Confederacy because their industrial economy...

" became a dominant economic force, and slavery was sustained as a key institution of Southern society.

Milling machine

Machine tool historian Joseph W. Roe credited Whitney with inventing the first milling machine
Milling machine
A milling machine is a machine tool used to machine solid materials. Milling machines are often classed in two basic forms, horizontal and vertical, which refers to the orientation of the main spindle. Both types range in size from small, bench-mounted devices to room-sized machines...

 circa 1818. Subsequent work by other historians (Woodbury; Smith; Muir; Battison [cited by Baida]) suggests that Whitney was among a group of contemporaries all developing milling machines at about the same time (1814 to 1818), and that the others were more important to the innovation than Whitney was. (The machine that excited Roe may not have been built until 1825, after Whitney's death.) Therefore, no one person can properly be described as the inventor of the milling machine.

Later life and legacy

Despite his humble origins, Whitney was keenly aware of the value of social and political connections. In building his arms business, he took full advantage of the access that his status as a Yale
YALE
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...

 alumnus gave him to other well-placed graduates, such as Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 Oliver Wolcott (Class of 1778) and New Haven developer and political leader James Hillhouse
James Hillhouse
James Hillhouse was an American lawyer, real estate developer, and politician from New Haven, Connecticut. He represented Connecticut in both the U.S. House and Senate...

.

His 1817 marriage to Henrietta Edwards, granddaughter of the famed evangelist
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

 Jonathan Edwards, daughter of Pierpont Edwards
Pierpont Edwards
Pierpont Edwards was a delegate to the American Continental Congress, and later a United States federal judge. He has been described as "a brilliant but erratic member of the Connecticut bar, tolerant in religious matters and bitterly hated by stern Calvinists, a man whose personal morality...

, head of the Democratic Party in Connecticut, and first cousin of Yale's president, Timothy Dwight
Timothy Dwight IV
Timothy Dwight was an American academic and educator, a Congregationalist minister, theologian, and author...

, the state's leading Federalist
Federalist
The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world. Also, it may refer to the concept of federalism or the type of government called a federation...

, further tied him to Connecticut's ruling elite. In a business dependent on government contracts, such connections were essential to success.

Whitney died of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

 on January 8, 1825, in New Haven, Connecticut, just a month after his 59th birthday. He left a widow and his four children behind. During the course of his illness, he invented and constructed several devices to mechanically ease his pain. These devices, drawings of which are in his collected papers, were effective but were never manufactured for use of others due to his heirs' reluctance to trade in "indelicate" items.

The Eli Whitney Students Program
Eli Whitney Students Program
The Eli Whitney Students Program is an admissions program designed to attract students from non-traditional backgrounds to Yale College. Students admitted through the program study either part or full-time and receive either a B.A. or a B.S. from Yale College...

, Yale University's admissions program for non-traditional students, is named after Whitney who matriculated into Yale when he was 23.

Further reading

  • Battison, Edwin. (1960). "Eli Whitney and the Milling Machine." Smithsonian Journal of History I.
  • Cooper, Carolyn, & Lindsay, Merrill K. (1980). Eli Whitney and the Whitney Armory.
  • Whitneyville, CT: Eli Whitney Museum.
  • Dexter, Franklin B. (1911). "Eli Whitney." Yale Biographies and Annals, 1792-1805. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Company.
  • Hall, Karyl Lee Kibler, & Cooper, Carolyn. (1984). Windows on the Works: Industry on the Eli Whitney Site, 1798-1979.
  • Hamden, CT: Eli Whitney Museum
  • Lakwete, Angela. (2004). Inventing the Cotton Gin: Machine and Myth in Antebellum America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Smith, Merritt Roe. 1973. "John H. Hall, Simeon North, and the Milling Machine: The Nature of Innovation among Antebellum Arms Makers." Technology & Culture 14.
  • Woodbury, Robert S. (1960). "The Legend of Eli Whitney and Interchangeable Parts." Technology & Culture 1.
  • McL. Green, Constance - Edited by Oscar Handlin. (1956). Eli Whitney & the The Birth of American Technology. Library of American Biography series.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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