work without it.
Mr. Whitney looked at it carefully.
Then he made her a new frame.
It was even better than the other one had been.
Of course Mrs. Greene was much pleased.
Mr. Whitney also made fine toys for the children.
Soon after this, a party of gentlemen visited at Mrs. Greene's home.
They were nearly all men who had been officers during the war.
Mr. Greene had been their general.
They began talking of the South.
They wished something might be done to improve that part of the country.
They wished it might be made a better place in which to live.
They spoke of the fine spinning machines that were coming into use in England.
Much land in the South could be used for cotton.
This could be sent to England for manufacture.
The South could become a rich country in this way.
But there was one great difficulty.
It cost so much to clean the cotton.
Mrs. Greene said, "I know who can help you.
"Apply to my young friend, Mr. Whitney. He can make anything."
She then showed the gentlemen her frame and other things which Mr. Whitney had made.
Mr. Whitney said he had never seen cotton or its seed.
None was raised near the home of the Greene's.
Mr. Whitney did not make any promises.
But the next day he went to work.
He went first to the city of Savannah.
There he searched among the warehouses and boats.
At last he found a small parcel of cotton.
This he carried home.
He shut himself up in a small basement room.
His tools were poor.
He made better ones.
No wire could be bought in Savannah.
So he made his own wire.
Mrs. Greene and a Mr. Miller were the only persons allowed to come into his work-shop.
Day after day the children wondered to hear the queer clinking and hammering.
They laughed at Mr. Whitney.
But that did not trouble him.
Before the end of the winter the machine was nearly perfect.
Its success seemed certain.
Mrs. Greene was very happy over the work.
She was eager that people should know about this wonderful invention.
She could not wait until a patent was secured.
A patent is given by the government.
It is given to prevent others from claiming an invention.
Often it keeps people from manufacturing the article without the permission of the owner.
So Mrs. Green invited a party of gentlemen from all parts of the state to visit her.
These gentlemen were taken to see the machine do its work.
They were greatly astonished.
For what did they see?
This curious little machine cleaned the cotton of its seed.
And it would clean in a day more than a man could do in months.
They went to their homes.
They told everybody about it.
Great crowds began coming to see it.
But they were refused permission to do so.
This was because it had not yet been patented.
So one night some wicked men broke into the building.
They stole the cotton-gin.
You can well imagine how dreadful this was.
Mr. Whitney had no money.
So Mr. Miller agreed to be his partner.
Mr. Miller had come to Georgia from the North.
He, too, was a graduate of Yale College.
He afterward married Mrs. Greene.
He became Mr. Whitney's partner in May, 1773.
Perhaps you wonder why the machine was called a gin. It was a short way of saying engine.
A gin is a machine that aids the work of a person.
The cotton-gin was made to work much the same as the hand of a person.
It dragged the cotton away from the seed.
And now begins the sorrowful part of the story.
Before Mr. Whitney could get his patent, several other gins had been made.
Each claimed to be the best.
The plans were all stolen from Mr. Whitney's.