15 June 2011

Thomas Quinn's Patented Improvement in Cotton-Presses

Photo by James Allen
Thomas Quinn was born about 1821 in Ireland. By 1870 he had immigrated to the United States and was settled in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia with his wife Mary and two children, Edward and Adaline. In the summer of that year Thomas was working in a cotton mill.

Thomas did not just put his time in at the mill each day. He had an inventive spirit and sought ways to make improvements to some of the equipment of the cotton mill, specifically the cotton presses. He applied for a patent on his improvements 29 July 1879. It was granted about six weeks later. A record from the United States Patent Office (in part):


...Patent No. 219,517, dated September 9, 1879...

To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, THOMAS QUINN, of Macon, in the county of Bibb and State of Georgia, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Cotton-Presses; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, and to the form part of this specification.

The nature of my invention consists in the construction of a press for packing cotton or other fibrous material direct from the gin or other mechanism in layers, so that the same amount of pressure is distributed equally throughout the whole package.

In order to enable others skilled in the art to which my invention appertains to make and use the same...

...In manufacturing cotton it has always been found that the cotton from the middle of the bale works better than the outsides, owing to the extra pressure exerted on the outside in the present mode of packing.

With my machine the cotton falls into the press directly from the gin, and a uniform pressure is exerted from the commencement to the completion of the bale. I am also enabled to put more cotton in the same space without any undue pressure on any part thereof...THOMAS QUINN
Thomas lived about six more years after applying for and receiving his patent. Upon his death in 1885 at age 64, he was laid to rest next to his wife (who had died twelve years earlier) in the Eglantine Square section of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Source List

Georgia. Bibb County. 1870 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Genealogy, Family Trees and Family History Records Online - Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011.

"Rose Hill Cemetery." Database. Rose Hill Cemetery - Macon, GA. http://www.historicrosehillcemetery.org : 2011.

Rose Hill Cemetery (Macon, Bibb County, Georgia). Grave markers.

"U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patents, 1790-1909." Genealogy, Family Trees and Family History Records Online - Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011.

USGenWeb Archives. Rose Hill Cemetery Tombstone Photos, digital images. http://www.usgwarchives.net : 2011.
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