Historians would agree that Eli Whitney was one of the greatest fathers of mechanical engineering of all time.
Eli Whitney was born in the small rural town of Westborough, Massachusetts on December 8th, 1765. He was born to Eli and Elizabeth Whitney and after a few years he became the oldest of three other siblings. When Eli Whitney was five years an unfortunate birth incident resulted in the loss of his would have been youngest brother, Josiah. In 1777, when Eli was twelve, his mother died and that end up with him having to take care of his two brothers and his sister while his father worked. .
Even as a young boy Eli showed great promise with his skills with tools. As a young boy he liked to play with his fathers tools by fixing furniture around the house. Even as a youngster he was intrigued by his mechanical ability and felt he could do something important. While feeling that he was financially worthless to his family, he got permission from his father to setup his own forge. With the Revolutionary war going on at the time the was a shortage of basic building materials so in his forge he created nails with scrap metal thus creating a huge profit for him and his family. With this huge success he was able to provide an extra income for his family. Soon after the Revolutionary war ended he started to sell hatpins and men's walking sticks, which turned an even greater profit.
To understand the importance of the cotton gin, you must first understand what the conditions were before it was invented. In order to get cotton clean you needed to first pick the cotton, the you had to bring it to a place where there was a very large amount of slaves and they spent the entire day only producing one pound of cotton per slave. Cleaning cotton was very hard on the hands of the slaves and usually after a day of cleaning cotton, the slave would have to wait a day before he could do it again because his/her hands were bloody raw from the prickly seeds of the raw cotton.