While eli whitney is best remembered as the inventor of the cotton gin it is often forgotten that he was also the father of the mass production method in 1798 he figured out how to manufacture muskets by machine so that the parts were interchangeable it was as a manufacturer of muskets that whitney finally became rich. Eli whitney december 8 1765 january 8 1825 was an american inventor manufacturer and mechanical engineer who invented the cotton ginone of the most significant inventions of the american industrial revolution the cotton gin turned cotton into a highly profitable cropthe invention revived the economy of the antebellum south and sustained enslavement as a key economic and social . Eli whitneys patent for the cotton gin background eli whitney and the need for an invention as eli whitney left new england and headed south in 1792 he had no idea that within the next seven months he would invent a machine that would profoundly alter the course of american history. On this day in 1794 westborough native eli whitney applied for a patent on the cotton gin raised on a farm in massachusetts he invented a machine that made growing cotton so profitable that the south became a cotton kingdom based on the labor of thousands of enslaved men and women after nearly a decade in the
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