In 1922, cotton may not have still been king but it was still an important local crop. Farmers still had to contend with boll weevils and caterpillars, the latter of which were significantly worrisome to farmers in this parish in the summer of 1922. If the cotton crop survived the pests, cotton ginning time was just around the corner.
The quality of the local cotton gin (short for engine) could mean a lot of difference in the amount of money a farmer’s cotton crop brought. One hundred years ago, Messrs. Warren and Wise were in the process of installing the most modern of gins, a Murray “four stand gin equipped with super-cleaners,” in the town of Bienville. Cotton from this, the latest type of gin, had previously brought a premium of over $5.00 per bale.
New technological advancements allowed, for the first time in the region, for the ginning and pressing of cotton without the use of steam. The Murray gin was powered by a 80 horsepower horizontal internal combustion gasoline engine and was equipped with a power hydraulic press. The gin stand used the teeth of rotating saws to pull the cotton through a series of “ginning ribs”, which pulled the fibers from the seeds which are too large to pass through the ribs. The cleaned seed was then removed from the gin. The seed was reused for planting or was sent to an oil mill to be further processed into cottonseed oil and cottonseed meal. The lint cleaners again used saws and grid bars, this time to separate immature seeds and any remaining foreign matter from the fibers. The bale press then compressed the cotton into bales for storage and shipping.
With Messrs. Warren and Wise’s new gin, the people of Bienville and the surrounding area gained a welcomed advantage in the cotton trade.
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