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This Day in Georgia History

June 20, 1793

Eli Whitney Applied for Patent on Cotton Gin

Eli Whitney applied for a patent for his new invention, the cotton gin. The patent was granted in March 1794, and Whitney and a partner began manufacturing gins. Their invention was very successful, but their business sense was not. Instead of outright sale of gins, they proposed a fee system where planters paid Whitney’s partnership the equivalent of 40 percent of the cotton ginned. Planters balked, and because the cotton gin was of fairly simple design, other companies began offering copies. The partnership failed, but the cotton gin went on to change history.

To view an image of an early Eli Whitney cotton gin model, see the Digital Library of Georgia.