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Sale 38 Lot 1259

ELI WHITNEY(1765 - 1825) American inventor whose invention for removing seeds from cotton, the cotton gin, revolutionized the trade and led to an enormous increase in cotton production. Whitney later became and arms manufacturer and pioneered the use of interchangeable parts. Manuscript D.S., 2pp., folio, New Haven, Dec. 15, 1796, also witnessed and signed by Benjamin Whitney, a relative, being an employment agreement between the firm of Miller & Whitney and one Joel Bishop of North Haven. In part: "...This Agreement...by and between...Miller & Whitney and Joel Bishop...to work or labor for them for the term of one year beginning on the 5th day of December 1796 in the employment and constructing said Whitney's Patent Gins or Machines for separating Cotton from its Seeds...and the said Miller & Whitney...agree...to pay him Two hundred Dollars for said Labor...". Signed at conclusion by Joel Bishop and Eli Whitney, with both names cancelled with cross-hatching when the contract was paid in full. With a calculation of payments to Bishop in 1797. Miller and Whitney became partners in the venture to produce the cotton gins and to gin the cotton in the south. Many of their problems would come over the perception that they were trying to monopolize all cotton production in the South. Whitney set up production of the gins in New Haven and together Miller and he had approximately 25 gins in operation. The cotton gin was one of the key inventions of the industrial revolution and shaped the economy of the antebellum South. Whitney's invention made short staple cotton into a profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery. Despite the social and economic impact of his invention, Whitney lost his profits in legal battles over patent infringement, closed his business, and nearly filed bankruptcy. A fine document concerning Whitney's attempts to re-establish his workshop following a fire which destroyed the operation in 1794. Very good.
Estimate $ 600-800

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