What is cotton?
A: Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae.
The fiber is almost pure cellulose and can contain
minor percentages of what?
A: Waxes, fats, pectin, and water.
Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will
A: The dispersal of the seeds.
The plant is a shrub native to what?
A: Tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt and India.
The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found
A: In Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa.
Cotton was independently domesticated in what?
A: Both the Old and New Worlds.
The fiber is most often spun into what?
A: Yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable, and durable textile.
The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to when?
A: Prehistoric times.
Where have fragments of cotton fabric dated to the
fifth millennium BC been found?
A: In the Indus Valley civilization, as well as fabric remnants dated back to 4200 BC in Peru.
Although cultivated since antiquity, it was the
invention of the cotton gin that did what?
A: Lowered the cost of production that led to its widespread use.
What are current estimates for world production?
A: About 25 million tons or 110 million bales annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land.
What country is the world's largest producer of cotton?
The United States has been the largest what for many
There are how many commercially grown species of
cotton, all domesticated in antiquity?
What are the four species?
A: Gossypium hirsutum, Gossypium barbadense, Gossypium arboretum, and Gossypium herbaceum.
While cotton fibers occur naturally in
colors of white,
brown, pink and green, fears of contaminating the genetics of white cotton
have led many cotton-growing locations to do what?
A: To ban the growing of colored cotton varieties.
Cotton fabric was known to the ancient Romans as an
import, but cotton was what?
A: Rare in the Romance-speaking lands until imports from the Arabic-speaking lands in the later medieval era.
The earliest evidence of the use of cotton in the Old
World, dated to 5500 BC and preserved in copper beads, has been found where?
A: At the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh, at the foot of the Bolan Pass in ancient India, today in Balochistan Pakistan.
When was cotton manufacturing introduced to Europe?
A: During the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily.
The knowledge of cotton weaving was spread to northern
Italy in the 12th century, when Sicily was conquered by whom?
The advent of the Industrial Revolution in Britain
provided a great boost to cotton manufacture, as textiles emerged as
A: Leading export.
Production capacity in Britain and the United States
was improved by the invention of whlat?
A: The modern cotton gin by the American Eli Whitney in 1793.
Before the development of cotton gins, the cotton
fibers had to be what?
A: Pulled from the seeds tediously by hand.
To produce a bale of cotton required how many hours of
A: over 600 hours.
The gin that Whitney manufactured reduced the hours
down to how many?
A: A dozen hours or so per bale.
Although Whitney patented his own design for a cotton
gin, he manufactured a prior design from whom?
A: Henry Odgen Holmes.