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Whitney, Eli

Born: 1765 AD
Died: 1825 AD
3 (60.67%) 30 votes

1765 – He was born on the 8th day of December this year in Westborough, Massachusetts.

1792 – He prepared for Yale under the tutelage of Rev. Elizur Goodrich of Durham, Connecticut and entered the Class of this year. Later he established his business the cooton gin and by the late 1970’s he was on the verge of bankruptcy and cotton gin litigation had left him deeply in debt .

1798 – The War Department issued contracts for the manufacture of 10,000 muskets. Whitney, who had never made a gun in his life, obtained a contract in January of this year to deliver ten to fifteen thousand muskets in 1800.

1809 – He began promoting the idea of interchangeable parts, and even arranged a public demonstration of the concept in order to gain time. He did not deliver on the contract until this year, but then spent the rest of his life publicizing the idea of interchangeability.

1817 – He married Henrietta Edwards, granddaughter of the famed evangelist, Jonathan Edwards, daughter of Pierpont Edwards, head of the Democratic Party in Connecticut, and first cousin of Yale’s president, Timothy Dwight, further tied him to Connecticut’s ruling elite. In a business dependent on government contracts, such connections were essential to success.

1825 – He died of prostate cancer on the 8th day of January this year. At an early age, demonstrated his mechanical genius and entrepreneurial acumen, operating a profitable nail manufacturing operation in his father’s workshop during the American Revolution.

3 (60.67%) 30 votes