Invented in 1793, the cotton gin changed history for good and bad. By allowing one field hand to do the work of 10, it powered a new industry that brought wealth and power to the American South -- but, tragically, it also multiplied and prolonged the use of slave labor. Kenneth C. Davis lauds innovation, while warning us of unintended consequences.
Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop
Smithsonian Museum: Exhibit of American Inventors and Inventions
National Museum of American History: Industry and Manufacturing
You can learn more about slavery and its impact on American history, the presidency, and the Civil War in these books by Kenneth C. Davis: