Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure II: Drawing of the Cotton Gin, 28 October 1793

Drawing of the Cotton Gin

Tr (GEpFAR: RG 21, U.S. Circuit Court, District of Georgia, Savannah, Mixed Cases); copy made from lost original, with minor copying errors as evidenced by the omission of several reference points in Enclosure I above; certified by Secretary of State James Madison on 27 Apr. 1804 (see note to Enclosure i above).

A drawing made at the Patent Office on 18 Mch. 1845 and signed by Commissioner of Patents Henry L. Ellsworth (DNA: RG 241, Restored Patent Drawings), a reconstructed model made around the same time, and subsequent plates based on the reconstructed drawing vary significantly from the drawing reproduced above and were not based on Whitney’s drawing, but were derived instead from the long description (see Enclosure I above) and from examination of an actual cotton gin or one of the early models then in possession of the Whitney family (P. J. Federico, “Records of Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin Patent,” Technology and Culture, i [1960], 172–3, 175–6n; F. L. Lewton, “Historical Notes on the Cotton Gin,” Smithsonian Institution, Annual Report [1937], 555–8).

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