Original patent drawing submitted by Eli Whitney
Whitney’s original drawing submitted for patent.

Two and a quarter centuries ago, Eli Whitney received the patent on the cotton gin via the young U.S. Patent Office. As the cliché goes, the rest is history. You can learn a lot more about the gin, and Whitney himself (who made almost no money off the invention) here: http://eliwhitney.org/7/museum/eli-whitney/cotton-gin