Wednesday, October 20, 2010

King Cotton...

Cotton press

Information compiled and written by Miles Martin

Anglo-American farmers first began cultivating cotton in the Texas region in 1821. Cotton quickly became the leading crop in Texas farming. From 1849 to 1859 cotton production in Texas rose from 58,073 bales to 431,645 bales. With a long growing season, and the constant need for weeding the crop, maintenance and upkeep of cotton was a year round ordeal, hence the reason many cotton growers resorted to slave labor. Once the cotton was harvested by hand, it was sent to the ginning house to have the lint separated from the seeds. Cotton lint was then pressed into bales weighing 500 lbs. by a screw press. By 1880, Texas became the top cotton producing state in the union. Most cotton produced in Texas was exported to other states like California, where in 1850 Levi Strauss created cotton Levi jeans selling for $13.50 a dozen.
--Handbook of Texas & Texas roots

Did you know? Originally cotton was grown in several different colors, including rust and light purple. Eventually white was adopted as the primary color to streamline the manufacturing process.

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