THE WORLD OF ELI WHITNEY by
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THE WORLD OF ELI WHITNEY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Written with spirit and scholarship, this story of a peaceful but determined ""revolutionary"" whose efforts evolved into the American Industrial Revolution encompasses a history on personal, national, and international levels. The authors draw from previously unpublished family papers to present Whitney in the round -- his relations with father and stepmother, with Nathanael Greene's charming widow and her second husband, Phineas Miller, with whom he joined in the cotton gin business. The Diary of Ezra Stiles, President of Yale College, reveals the kind of education he got in New Haven, and the family letters tell of his efforts to get there. The dramatic invention of the gin shortly after graduation while in the South is followed by long years in which inventor and partner fight for patent rights, first against producers of imitations of the machine, then for rights to license their plan. But money reward did not lie here, and so, having given the South a new lease on an economic life and interchange with Britain, Whitney proceeded, by working through the first mass production methods -- by building tools to make uniform, interchangeable parts -- and by working in contract directly with the government, to form the base for Amercian industry, particularly the smallparts, small factory industry still so important in New England today. They bring into line this Revolution with the parallel one in England and provide a rich background for their tale of man and machine.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1952
Publisher: Macmillan