Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin

How It Works: Seed separation with Eli Whitney’s cotton gin

Cut-away model of an early cotton gin at the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop illustrates how cotton is separated from the seed
Cut-away model of an early cotton gin at the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop illustrates how cotton is separated from the seed. As cotton feeds from a hopper, saw-like teeth on a rotating cylinder grab the cotton fibers and pull them through a grate that holds back the seeds. A rotating brush then combs the cotton from the teeth and deposits it in a receptacle.