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Eli Whitney was born on December 8, 1765 in Westboro, Massachusetts.  Whitney went to Yale College in 1788 with the financial help of his father.   He also affected the industrial development of the United States when, in manufacturing muskets for the government, he translated the concept of interchangeable parts into a manufacturing system, giving birth to the American mass-production concept. 

Whitney invented a machine to clean the seed from cotton that made the South and himself rich. The cotton gin separated fiber from seed. After perfecting his machine he received a patent for it on March 14, 1794.  Whitney's gin brought the South prosperity, but they were unwilling to pay for its use and pirated it, which put Whitney's company out of business by 1797. When Congress refused to renew the patent, which expired in 1807, Whitney concluded that "an invention can be so valuable as to be worthless to the inventor." Whitney never patented his later inventions, one which was a milling machine. He made the southern United States dominant in cotton production.  He died in January 8, 1825.

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