is a plant, it grows wild in many places
on the earth, but it has been known about,
cultivated and put to use by people of
many lands for centuries.
and historians have found shreds of cloth
or written reference to cotton dating back
at least seven-thousand years. The oldest
discovery was made in a Mexican cave, where
scientists unearthed bits and pieces of
cotton bolls and cloth. Archaeologists
have also found cloth fragments in the
Indus Valley of India (Pakistan) dating
about 3000 B.C. In 1500 B.C.,
England, in the early 1700's, during the height
of the British Empire, it was against the law,
to either import or manufacture cloth from
cotton. These laws were enacted to protect
the powerful English sheep and wool industry
of that time. These restrictions also kept
the cotton industry from expanding to the American
Colonies. However, by the early 1600's, cotton
had been introduced to North America and in
1607 the first seed was planted by colonists
along the James River in Virginia.
Gold” is a historical
and appropriate term
for cotton, the natural
fiber which continues
to play an important
role in the United
was referred to in a Hindu Rig-Veda
hymn mentioning "threads in the loom." It
is generally believed that the first
cultivation of cotton was in India,
though it grew wild in several locations
around the world. People living
in Egypt's Nile Valley and across
the world in Peru were also familiar
was grown by American Indians in
the early 1500's, documented from
sightings by the Coronado expedition
1540-42. The Spaniards raised
a cotton crop in Florida in 1556.
colonists had the ability to produce much cotton
but were restricted by the mechanical know-how. It
was Samuel Slater, an English mill worker, who changed this
by migrating to America in 1790 and building
the first American cotton mill from memory. With
the development of the cotton mill, Eli
Whitney saw the need for a faster
means of removing the lint (cotton fibers) from the seed. In 1793,
he patented a machine known as the cotton gin. This
invention revolutionized the way lint was separated
from the seed. Up to that time, for centuries,
the separation process had all been done by
hand. With Whitney's gin, short for the word
engine, lint volume was increased for each
worker from 1 lb. To 50 lbs. per day.
the cotton by hand was another limitation of
productivity. An experienced laborer could
pick approximately 450 pounds of seed cotton (cotton removed from the plant
with seeds intact) by hand per day. A picking
device was first patented in 1850 and a stripper (a machine that strips both open and
unopened bolls and trash from the plant) in
1871. In the early 1930's, after years of
development and change, the Rust Brothers of
Mississippi used a one row mechanical cotton picker (a machine that used revolving
spindles or barbed points to grab and pull
the cotton from the open boll) of their design
to pick approximately 8,000 pounds of seed
cotton in one day. This was quite an improvement
in cotton harvest efficiency.
Cotton's Journey From Seed to You VIDEO
"Have you ever thought about where the clothes you and your family wear come from, or the dressing you put on your salad, or the sheets you crawl under at night before you go to sleep?" This 23 minute video covers the history, production and processing of cotton. Students will be entertained by.....
BALE O' COTTON: THE MECHANICAL ART OF COTTON GINNING Book
This book offers a unique blend of fact and folklore about cotton ginning, the process that takes cotton from the field, separates fibers from seed, and packages the lint into a bale for shipment to market. It traces the development of the industry, the equipment and the techniques, of this integral.....
QUILTING NOW & THEN Book
Shirley Johnson explains to her children how she makes her intricate quilts, and how her great-grandmother did it all by hand.
* 36 full-color pages features 19 exquisite quilts made exclusively for this book.
* Explains how quilts are made and compares today’s methods with those used.....