Cotton gin was patented by Eli Whitney in 1794. It changed the way cotton was raised and processed in the southeastern United States. Prior to the gin, slaves had to hand separate the cotton fibers from cotton seeds and debris. The cotton gin processed the separation ten times faster. More cotton could therefore be played, and unfortunately more slaves would be needed. Children could glean many more details at: http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/cotton-gin-patent/. Children could watch an animation as to how the cotton gin works at: http://www.eliwhitney.org/cotton.htm.