Cotton Ginner's Handbook Revised
Anyone who thinks that cotton is still "made" on the same type of
gin Eli Whitney patented in 1794 had better look again. Whitney's gin was
replaced in 2 years by a blacksmith named Henry Ogden Holmes.
Quick change has been a hallmark of the cotton ginning industry ever since.
The "Cotton Ginners Handbook," newly published in its third
edition, has guided the industry through those changes for the past 30 years.
Today, cotton goes through a complex sequence of cleaning and drying
designed to produce the highest quality fiber.
Fiber quality is best the day a cotton boll opens. Problems during any
production stage cause irreversible damage and reduce profits.
USDA has played an important role in the U.S. cotton industry since
establishing a cotton ginning research program in Stoneville, Mississippi, in
1931. That same year, USDA engineers developed a dryer that rapidly moved into
use throughout the Cotton Beltand later, the world. Before this
invention, gins were producing a lot of damp, trashy cotton that would not spin
well or make high-grade yam, costing millions of dollars in lost value.
In the late 1950's and early 1960's, ARS scientists in New Mexico helped
develop a rotary-knife roller gin for use with the extra-long cotton fibers
used in the manufacture of expensive dress shirts. ARS engineers in New Mexico
later computerized the operation for greater efficiency.
W. Stanley Anthony, coeditor of the handbook, and ARS colleagues in
Mississippi developed computerized controls for optimal drying and cleaning in
regular gins, netting farmers up to $25 more a bale for higher quality.
The 348-page handbook includes a diagram of a "multistage bur and stick
extractor" patented by Roy V. Baker, an ARS engineer in Texas. Baker says
the compact machine he and his colleagues developed has "outperformed
conventional extraction equipment and combines three stages in one
ARS scientists continue improving equipment, methods, and cotton varieties
up to the present day. -- By Don Comis, ARS.
For technical information, contact
Anthony in the USDA-ARS
Ginning Research Unit, 111 Experiment Station Road, Stoneville, MS 38776;
phone (662) 686-3094, fax (662) 686-5483.
"Cotton Ginner's Handbook Revised" was
published in the July
1995 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.