Catherine Greene

GREENE, Catherine, née Littlefield, American housewife, 1755-1814. Married to General Nathanael Greene who commanded the final successful war against the South. They had a plantation. Her husband was visited occasionally by Eli Whitney, ‘inventor’ of the Cotton Gin. Whitney got the idea from her and since women were not able to file patent applications then, it was agreed that he would file the idea. Despite difficulties getting the prototype performing, Catherine continually encouraged him and eventually it did work. In 1794 the patent went in bearing Whitney’s name and he then took all the credit. Whitney’s first prototype was not successful, so Greene had the idea of using wires instead of wooden teeth, as Whitney was doing. Her modification resulted in a practical prototype

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Eli Whitney