Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cotton Gin


Today's picture shows a Cotton Gin at Dahomy Mississippi. The picture was taken in the late 1800's and shows cotton being delivered for ginning, and finished cotton bales being taken away.

The cotton industry has changed a lot since then, and continues to change. In the old days, raw cotton was taken to the gin, and the gin took the husks off the cotton bolls, took the seeds out of the cotton, and then compressed the cotton fiber into bales. Now, the first stages of ginning are actually done in the field. Modern cotton strippers remove the cotton husk from the boll, and then there are "Module Builders" which compress the cotton into large cubes, with one cube fitting on an 18 wheel semi truck. These large modules are then moved to the gin to have the seeds removed. It would not surprise me if we one day see the entire ginning process done in the field, from picking to finished bales.

6 comments:

  1. One factor in a harvestor doing all the work is they would have to have a seperate bin for the cotton seed. The seed is a very valuable item for many, many reasons.

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  2. The two pictures in Pulaski County, Arkansas look to be of a spot about eight miles from my farm. If I can get some conformation looking at old maps, I will send you a picture of what it looks like today today. By the way, the "husks" are called burrs, and they open naturally in the field and are typically left on the plant during the picking process, even hand picking. The exception is "pulling" which is going through the fields a second or third time where it was permitted to pull the burrs containing cotton instead of picking the cotton from the burrs, mainly due to the low volume and low weight of the "scrap cotton". The burrs would add weight and make the process more attractive to the picker, though marginally profitable to the farmer.

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  3. That building seems to have a plywood finish which is DE-laminating. I wasn't aware plywood was that old.
    Mivkey

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  4. The siding is galvanized corrugated metal, just like the roof. Called "tin roofing",it was the roofing and siding of choice for agricultural purposes then and now.

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  5. I don't check the blog every day,but when I do it is enjoyable and I make sure to share it on my F.B. network.

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  6. If you are ever in the delta there are several museums featuring restored cotton gins and other equipment. The Plantation Agriculture Museum in Scott, Arkansas (about six miles south of Little Rock) offers a restored gin and storage facility, equipment, etc. The Louisiana Cotton Museum in Lake Providence offers a wide variety of equipment and a gin, there is a great museum in Memphis and several in Mississippi, the best one that I have visited in Mississippi is in Greenville. Alabama and Georgia also have offerings. Most also feature old photographs, explanations of the life cycle and culture of cotton and exhibits of other rural products and practices of the era.

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