Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793. The machine could clean the seeds from 50 pounds of raw cotton a day, making cotton profitable. Cotton bolls were put in the top of the machine. Users turned a crank, which turned a wheel and sent the cotton through wire teeth, which removed the seeds. Build a model of Whitney’s famous invention using items found at home. This model is for display purposes only and will not clean cotton.
Things You’ll Need
- Thread spool
- 2 black plastic combs
- paper clips
- rubber bands
- Find a rectangular box, like those used for kitchen matches. Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of each the two long sides so the short sides of the box are taller than the long sides. This is the base of the cotton gin.
- Set aside cut pieces from the sides of the base.
- Cut a piece of cardboard to fit as a lid on your cotton gin model. Cut it longer than needed and fold a 1/2-inch flap on one end. Glue this flap to one of the short sides of your cotton gin model, allowing the cover to open like a hinge at the fold.
- Measure the diameter of a thread spool.
- Using a ruler to measure the long side of the cotton gin base, mark a spot about the same distance from the end as the diameter of the spool. Do the same on the other long side.
- Make a notch at the marks using scissors.
- Straighten a paperclip and thread through the hole in the middle of the spool.