Full text: Modern business geography

[Iniled States Department of Agriculiure 
Fic. 2. The entire cotton crop of the United States, which now averages about 11,000,000 bales a 
year, must be picked by hand. A picker can pick enough for one bale of ginned cotton in about 
six davs. The harvest lasts between three and four months. 
The most successful of these machines can be used only in fields where 
the ground is hard enough to support its weight. It resembles a 
small gasoline automobile, and it traveis over the cotton plants about 
as fast as a man can walk, plucking the fiber with steel fingers so 
deftly that it injures neither the plant nor the unopened bolls. Ifa 
machine meeting all requirements were to be invented, it would speed- 
ily lower the price of cotton goods; for then a farmer would be able 
to grow as much cotton as his land would allow, whereas now he is 
limited by the number of pickers he can secure. If more cotton 
were grown, the price of the fiber might come down, and the price of 
cotton goods might be lower. 
After the cotton is gathered, the next step is to separate the fiber 
from the small, dark seeds, to which it clings closely. In the early 
days, when this was done by hand, it was a slow and difficult task, and 
one person could separate scarcely two pounds of fiber a day. Then 
cotton cloth was more expensive than woolen or linen, and even more 
costly than silk is now. In 1792 Eli Whitney changed all this by in- 
venting the cotton gin. Many improvements have been made in 
the gin since 1792, and now a single machine is able to separate from

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