In Lubbock, TX, the contemporary cotton processing machine is made up of a variety of complex cotton gin components. While different designs of cotton gins work in somewhat different ways, practically all cotton gins have these essential characteristics. First, they separate the seeds from the fiber. This is usually done by rubbing the seed-filled lint between two cylinders called combs. The fibers are then picked out by machines and sold as yarn or woven into cloth.
Cotton seeds are very hard and contain about 50% oil. To make more cotton for commercial use, the seeds must be removed. This is done with various tools including a steel knife called a burr. The farther-away parts of the gin stand in for the burr tool on older machines. Today's gins use magnets to pull the metal out of the seeds.
After separation of the seeds from the lint, the next step is to remove any remaining foreign material. This includes other vegetable matter such as bark and stalks as well as small rocks and dirt. Finally, the gin dries the lint before selling it or using it elsewhere. Drying is usually done in large drums where heat from the sun or steam from water pipes does the job.
Gins were originally invented around 1825 by Eli Whitney Jr., an American inventor.
The cotton gin (which is an acronym for "engine") is a machine used to extract fibers from cotton seeds. Those fibers may subsequently be turned into a variety of commodities, whilst any undamaged material is typically utilized for textiles such as garments. Whitney's equipment functioned similarly to a sieve or strainer. He placed the seed in a hopper and then ran it through a series of screens which separated out any foreign material such as dust or other seeds. The extracted fiber was then ready to be sold or processed further.
Cotton is one of the most important agricultural products in the world. It is used for clothing, household goods, and other products because of its many advantages over other materials. Cotton grows well in most soil types including sandy soils. It can be harvested repeatedly without loss of quality or quantity. When cotton plants reach maturity, their pods contain within them seeds that will become cotton if given time to dry. These seeds are oval in shape and covered with hair. They must first be removed from the pod before they can be used for anything. This process is called "lodging" and it prevents seeds from growing all along roads and in other disturbed areas. Lodged seeds cannot germinate until they have fallen off of their parent plant.
Once cotton has been harvested, it must be ginned to remove the seed coat and mature any undesirable characteristics such as lint balls. This process leaves the fiber ready to be spun into yarn for use in fabrics.
The cotton gin simplifies cotton processing by employing a hand-cracked cylinder with wire teeth to separate cotton fibers from seeds, making it simple to remove seeds from cotton. The gin also removes any trash or debris that may be attached to the cotton.
In 1793, Moses Cotton created the first cotton gin. He built his machine out of wood and turned it inside out so that all the components were on the outside. This made it easy to clean and maintain. His invention was an enormous success and soon nearly all cotton used in America was processed with a gin.
During the Civil War, cotton production increased greatly due to many new plantations being established. After the war, many former slaves took up farming as a way of life. They needed a tool that would make their job easier and this led to another innovation: the mule powered cotton picker. The mule would pull a chain that operated the gears which moved the picker's arms.
In 1872, Eli Whitney invented the power cotton picker. It was an immense improvement over the mule-powered picker because it did not require human labor to operate. It also worked better and picked more cotton.
In the 1950s, the mechanical cotton picker was developed.
The modern cotton ginning method has persisted throughout Georgia and the Southeast, as well as in the major cotton-producing areas of the southwestern United States and elsewhere. It is still used in these regions to process cotton grown for commercial purposes. In fact, it is this method that allows farmers to get more production out of their land by removing some of the weed seeds along with the cotton fibers.
Cotton is harvested by hand or using mechanical pickers. After cleaning the field, the cotton is picked by crews of people who walk through the crop to remove any remaining leaves or weeds. Once all the cotton is removed, the crew returns home before going back out again the next day to harvest more. This goes on until all the cotton is picked.
After harvesting, the cotton is sent to a gin where it is pulled from the boll (the protective shell around the seed pod) by workers who do this work called ginners. Each boll contains about 50 fibers when it is removed from the plant. The ginner pulls these fibers apart one by one to release the seed from the pod. Some types of ginners use their hands to do this job. Others use tools such as rubber teeth or hooks. No matter what type of ginner is used, this work is called "ginning" the cotton.