This colorful model of a farm and cotton gin was built from scratch by toy farm creator Darryl Cox. It has 32 parts, and everything is made to 1 16th of its real size. Mr. Cox grew up in West Tennessee hauling cotton to a similar gin, and made this detailed model showing how cotton was harvested and ginned from 1950 to 1975.
Two cotton pickers work through the cotton field. The bright red cotton picker was made by International Harvester between 1960 and 1970, and the bright green John Deere cotton picker is slightly older. The cotton pickers have quickly rotating spindles in the front which snag and pull the cotton off the plant. Then the cotton is taken off the spindle and blown into the mesh compartment on the back. When the cotton picker fills up, workers empty the cotton into the green wire mesh wagons and haul them to the gin with a tractor.
At the gin, a pipe sucks the cotton from the trailer and takes it through dryers and cleaners where unwanted material, such as leaves, are taken out. Finally, the cotton is piped to the three gin stands, where the actual ginning process happens. The tall metal gin stand broadens out by steps in the front. In the wide bottom section where Mr. Cox put red paint, the cotton is pulled by special round saw blades through fine teeth that don’t let the cotton seeds through. The seeds are blown through pipes to the seed house, the little grey building on stilts. When the house is full, the gin takes the cotton seeds and sells them. The cotton without seeds is called lint, and it’s moved through the pipes to the huge press where it’s pressed tightly, wrapped in burlap or plastic, and held with steel bands into a cotton bale. The workers weigh the bale and take a sample to measure the quality of the cotton. According to Mr. Cox, it took about 30 minutes for a bale’s worth of cotton to go through the whole gin.