Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin

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

1880 cotton gin, built by Smith & Sons Gin and Machine Co., Birmingham, Ala.
This 1880 cotton gin (on display at Pioneer Village Museum, Minden, Neb.) was built by Smith & Sons Gin and Machine Co., Birmingham, Ala. Hand-picked cotton bolls were dumped into the top hopper. Note the belt pulley, which allowed the machine to be mechanically powered.