Georgia farmers resented having to go to Whitney' gins where they had to pay what they regarded as an exorbitant tax. Instead, they responded by making their own versions of Whitney's gin and claiming these were new inventions. Business partners Eli Whitney and Phineas Miller even brought costly suits against the owners of these pirated versions of Whitney's gin, but were unable to win any suits until 1800, when the law about patent was changed.
U.S.-born inventor Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin in 1794, a machine that revolutionized the production of cotton by greatly speeding up the process of removing seeds from cotton fiber. By the mid-19th century, cotton had become America’s leading export. Read more of Eli Whitney and cotton gin's history here.
In the news, a current voluntary program funded by cotton growers could become automatic if Alabama voters give growers the right to decide for themselves. Alabama’s July 15 runoff ballot includes a “cotton checkoff” amendment. Cotton producer associations such as the Alabama Cotton Commission as well as the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce are urging voters to vote yes on the amendment. Read more at dothaneagle.com.