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Cotton... From Seed to Open Boll

Burton Farmers Gin

The Lady "B"

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  The Burton Farmers Gin

The Burton Farmers Gin represents the turn of the century revolution of cotton ginning from a labor intensive operation to the system gin which was powered by a single engine. It represents a mechanical age before the industrial use of power, and is the oldest surviving example of Robert Munger’s concept of an integrated system of processing cotton from the wagon to a completed bale.

Built in 1914, it combined the skills of engineers, mechanics and carpenters to bring the machine design, plant layout and wooden structure into industrial harmony. From unloading the wagon to the finished bale, air power and conveyors moved the cotton along the ginning system. This system gin, including all belts, pulleys, conveyors, and machinery, was powered by a single engine. From 1914-1925 (11 years), a steam engine was used. The steam engine was replaced in 1925 with a 125 horsepower Bessemer Type IV oil engine. This Bessemer engine, affectionately known as the "Lady B,” powered the gin system for 38 years. During the 1963 ginning season, a critical part (one of the two cross heads that connect the pistons to the connecting rods) failed. The oil engine was replaced by a 125 horsepower Allis-Chalmers Electric Motor. The gin operated using the electric motor for 11 more years until 1974 – the last year of the gin’s commercial operation. This final season saw only seven bales produced by a gin capable of processing seven bales per hour. The cattle industry had finally replaced "King Cotton.”

The Burton Farmers Gin has been designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.


 

 

 

 


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