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WHITNEY, ELI, inventor of the cotton gin. Two autograph manuscripts (unsigned but Whitney's name in the text in many places), comprising two depositions in a patent suit over the cotton gin, headed "Interrogatories to be put to Mr. Ebenezer Chittendon of New Haven, Connecticut," and to a Mr. Holland, with Crittendon's responses (also in Whitney's hand), n.p., n.d. [c. 1800?]. Together 5 pages, 4to, 244 x 182mm. (9 5/8 x 7 1/4in.).

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WHITNEY, ELI, inventor of the cotton gin. Two autograph manuscripts (unsigned but Whitney's name in the text in many places), comprising two depositions in a patent suit over the cotton gin, headed "Interrogatories to be put to Mr. Ebenezer Chittendon of New Haven, Connecticut," and to a Mr. Holland, with Crittendon's responses (also in Whitney's hand), n.p., n.d. [c. 1800?]. Together 5 pages, 4to, 244 x 182mm. (9 5/8 x 7 1/4in.).

WHITNEY'S VIGOROUS DEFENSE OF HIS COTTON GIN

The inventor of the machine which revolutionized the cotton and textile industry furnishes searching questions to two witnesses in a lawsuit brought to defend his invention from patent infringement. One witness, Crittendon, Whitney identifies in a note as "eminently distinguished for his talents as a Mechanist & ingenious Mechanic..." Whitney asks Crittendon: "Have you ever examined the specification and Drawings of a Machine invented by the Plaintiff Eli Whitney for cleaning Cotton?..." Crittendon answers: "The deponent has examined an authenticated copy of the Specification & Drawings (filed in the Sec[retar]y of State's office...of a machine for cleaning Cotton and has no hesitation in saying that the Machine & mode of making it is there so fully described...to enable any ingenious Mechanic to make an effective Machine..." Then, he asks if Crittendon has "ever known any machine [of this type] prior to the Invention of the Plaintiff," who responds that he has "never heard of a machine constructed on similar principles with the Low Gin previous to Mr. Whitney's discovery of the invention..." The questions Whitney wishes put to the witness John Holland include: "Have you ever known any Machine on similar principles used previous to the invention of Eli Whitney...for cleaning Cotton from the Seeds...?" and "Is the Machine invented by E. Whitney for separating Cotton from the Seeds a useful Invention or is it not...?"

Whitney (1765-1825) designed the gin in a mere ten days, completing a prototype in April 1793, and spent years defending his patent from imitators. "There is probably no other instance in the history of invention of the letting loose of such tremendous industrial forces so suddenly as occurred with the invention of the cotton gin..." (DAB).
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