In 1850, Taylure and Paige made the first attempt to develop a mechanical cotton picker with the intent on replacing manual labor. Also in 1850, Samuel S. Rembert and Jedidiah Prescott patented a cotton-harvesting machine in Memphis, Tenn. The original patent notes that “Our cotton picking machine can be duplicated and extended to such a width as to embrace several rows of cotton at once.” Mechanical cotton pickers had no further inventions until the founder of Price Campbell Cotton Picker Corporation created one in 1889. John Appleby patented a horse-drawn cotton picker in 1905.
Very little progress was made from then until 1924, when the Price-Campbell patents were purchased by International Harvester. Many experimental machines that were greatly improved from Price-Campbell's inventions were brought out during the period from 1924 until 1939. Most mechanical cotton pickers tried damaged both the plants and the bolls so badly that a repeat pick was no longer viable. Various companies and inventors claimed they had developed a mechanical cotton picker that did not damage the cotton crop while pick the bolls, but none did. In the mid-1930s a smooth-spindle design patented by the brothers John Daniel Rust and Mack Donald Rust of Memphis was the cause of considerable interest, but their design was not made practical until after World War II, with design development funded by Allis Chalmers.
Mechanical cotton picking began to be practical in 1943, when International Harvester produced the first dozen of their successful commercial cotton pickers. Although there were many attempts to invent successful cotton pickers, their use was not made practical until the 1950s, and even then, it was not immediately implemented on most farms.
In 1980, John Deere produced a 4-row cotton picker, the first in the industry. It was estimated that the unit would increase operator’s productivity by 85-95%.
The first pickers were only capable of harvesting one row of cotton at a time, but were still able to replace up to forty hand laborers. The current cotton picker is a self-propelled machine that removes cotton lint and seed (seed-cotton) from the plant at up to six rows at a time.
Types of pickerEdit
There are two types of pickers in use today.
- Stripper picker
One is the "stripper" picker, primarily found in use in Texas. They are also found in Arkansas. It removes not only the lint from the plant, but a fair deal of the plant matter as well (such as unopened bolls). Later, the plant matter is separated from the lint through a process dropping heavier matter before the lint makes it to the basket at the rear of the picker.
- Spindle icker
The other type of picker is the "spindle" picker. It uses rows of barbed spindles that rotate at high speed and remove the seed-cotton from the plant. The seed-cotton is then removed from the spindles by a counter-rotating doffer and is then blown up into the basket. Once the basket is full the picker dumps the seed-cotton into a "module builder". The module builder creates a compact "brick" of seed-cotton, weighing in at approximately 21,000 lb (16 un-ginned bales), which can be stored in the field or in the "gin yard" until it is ginned. Each ginned bale weighs roughly 480 lb (218.2 kg).
Some manufacturers are listed below;
- Allis-Chalmers - Allis-Chalmers Cotton Picker
- Case IH - In c.2008 the Case IH Module Express 625 was designed in collaboration with ginners and growers to provide a cotton picker with the ability to build modules while harvesting the crop.
- International Harvester built machines under the Farmall brand
- John Deere - An industry-exclusive on-board round module builder was offered by John Deere in 2007.
- Add details of other manufacturers here;
- ↑ "Cotton Picker Does Work of Gang", March 1931, Popular Science bottom of page 39
- ↑ Holley, Donald. Mechanical Cotton Picker Economic History, Posted Mon, 2010-02-01.
- ↑ Reuters - "Case IH Module Express 625 Streamlines Cotton Harvest" Retrieved on 9 March 2009
- ↑ http://www.deere.com/en_US/newsroom/2007/releases/farmersandranchers/082307_7760picker.html
- Holley, Donald. Mechanical Cotton Picker Encyclopedia article, University of Arkansas at Monticello
- Page, Arthur W. (December 1910), "A Cotton-Harvester At Last: A Machine That Will Emancipate Cotton From Low-Grade Labor", The World's Work: A History of Our Time XXI: 13748–13760, http://books.google.com/books?id=Zm0AAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA13748. Retrieved on 10 July 2009.
- International Harvester article from Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World
- "Recent Progress in the Mechanization of Cotton Production in the United States," by Gilbert C. Fite © 1950 Agricultural History Society
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