A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors


 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Part I-Chapter 6 : Early industrialists  >  Connecticut's armories of  the Nation :  Previous  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6  Next

   Eli Whitney from failure to prosperity  

The cotton gin was a simple device, yet it's impact on the American economy was tremendous. From less than 6'000 bales, produced in the year before Whitney's invention, cotton production soared to 167'000 by 1806. Cotton became the main agricultural produce of the South and was soon the major export commodity of the Nation. By 1860, the value of cotton exports alone reached 192 million $ and represented 61% of total US exports. One can only imagine what Miller & Whitney's fortunes would have looked like, if they had been able to secure just a 1% fee on all cotton cleaned thanks to their invention

 

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