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Donated Cotton Gins To Enrich Ag Classes
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An 1880s and a 1920s cotton gin are the latest additions to agricultural engineering classes at Mississippi State University.
Joe Jim Hogan of Oxford donated the cotton gin stands to MSU's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in May. Both cotton gins were steam-powered. The older one could gin four to six bales of cotton a day, the newer one could gin eight in a day.
"I thought maybe the university could use it in some way to show people how the old gins were made," Hogan said.
Both cotton gins came to the university with a hopper to load the cotton, feeders to take it into the machine, a lint condenser for the newer gin, a seed cotton fan and various other parts necessary to gin cotton.
Hogan's father installed the gins in 1905 and then the 1920s. The early gin replaced a horse-powered cotton gin his father built in the mid 1890s.
"My dad couldn't get enough production from the horse-powered gin, so he went to steam," Hogan said.
The older gin, built in Atlanta by the E. Van Winkle Gin Company and Machine Works, is believed to be very rare. The newer gin was made by the Continental Gin Co.
Herb Willcutt, agricultural engineer with MSU's Extension Service, said the university intends to get the newer gin into operating condition.
"Both gins are in very good condition considering their age," Willcutt said. "These cotton gin stands are very useful to compare cotton gins of the present to yesterday. They are extremely valuable as a teaching tool and piece of history."
The 1920s gin will be reconditioned soon and operators will try to gin cotton with it. Once working, it will be displayed in various demonstrations. The older one will require new parts before it can operate.
The gins will become part of the Gin Technology emphasis area of the Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business program within MSU's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
"They should be considered as museum pieces," Willcutt said. "They will be displayed in teaching to show the contrast and similarity in technology of the late 1800s to present day cotton ginning."
The newer gin will be on permanent display in the Pace Seed Lab where it can be operated occasionally. Along with it will be a small, state-of-the-art laboratory gin for teaching and ginning samples. The older model will be housed in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building, where it will eventually be restored and may be used as a traveling display in other areas where cotton is ginned, Willcutt said.