Cotton – A White Gold

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cotton

Cotton – A White Gold

Today, the world uses more cotton than any other fibre. Cotton comes from cultivated plants from the genus Gossypium. They have been cultivated since ancient times for their fibres which are used as textiles. Cotton is a part of our daily lives from the time we dry our faces on a soft cotton towel in the morning until we slide between fresh cotton sheets at night. It has hundreds of uses, from blue jeans to shoe strings. Clothing and household items are the largest uses, but industrial products account from many thousands of bales. Cotton has other, more surprising uses too from medicines and mattresses to seed oil and even sausage skins.

History of Cotton
The oldest cotton fibres and boll fragments, dated from around 5000 B.C., were discovered in Mexico. Cotton has been worn in Egypt and India for over 5,000 years. Native Americans grew cotton as early as 1500. It was in the late 1700’s that Samuel Slater, an Englishman, built the first American cotton mill. These mills converted cotton fibres into yarn and cloth. In 1793, Eli Whitney developed the cotton gin, which mechanically separates the seed from the lint fibre. Whitney named his machine a “gin,” short for the word “engine” that could do the work 10 times faster than by hand. Technology has improved over the past centuries making cotton growth and production much more efficient.

Cotton grown 
Cotton is grown in several countries including USA, China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Greece, Australia and many other countries.

Uses of Cotton
Like lumber, cotton comes in many varieties and qualities, each suitable for different purposes. The long lint fibres are used for many things, most of which begin with a thread, yarn or cotton fabric. Clothing and bedding items are common products. The smaller cotton fibres, known as linters, are removed from the seed and are used as stuffing for furniture and components of linoleum, plastics and insulation. Cotton seed oil is used in foods and cosmetics. Cotton seed hulls are eaten by cattle.

One bale of cotton is equal to
215 Jeans
249 Bed Sheets
690 Terry Bath Towels
765 Men’s Dress Shirts
1,217 Men’s T-Shirts
1,256 Pillowcases
3,085 Diapers
4,321 Mid-Calf Socks
21,960 Women’s Handkerchiefs

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