Long Distance Trade, Locational Dynamics and By-Product Development: Insights from the History of the American Cottonseed Industry
“If there is one aspect more than any other that characterizes modern commercial and industrial development… it is the utilization of substances which in a primitive stage of development of any industry were looked upon as worthless. They were secondary products incurred in the manufacture of the main commodity, for which the industrial acumen of the age found no use; or if a use were known, the prejudices and conservatism of society allowed them to languish in the shadow of a similar commodity already strongly intrenched.”Leebert Lloyd Lamborn  (p. 16) (1904)
“Cotton-seed oil is a most conspicuous instance of an article once thrown aside as a nuisance. Originally it was only a byproduct in the manufacture of meal from the seed; and even after it was discovered that meal could be made, it was a question what should be done with the oil. That question has been answered in various ways. What was garbage in 1860 was a fertilizer in 1870, cattle food in 1880, and table food and many things else, in 1890.”Frederic G. Mather  (p. 104) (1894)
2. Cotton: Cultivation, Use and Environmental Issues
2.1. Domesticated Cotton Species: Advantage America
2.2. The Many (Mixed) Blessings of Tetraploidy
2.3. Physical Properties of the Cottonseed
2.4. Environmental Problems of Cottonseed Disposal
3. Cottonseed By-Product Development
3.1. Overview of the Development of the American Cottonseed Industry
the transportation business of the country, the payment of many thousands of dollars in wages, the employment of thousands of men, the annual increase in the export business of the United States, the great financial and economic value to the country of the production of cotton oil, thus giving to the consumer a sweet and wholesome product, and supplying a deficiency in the world’s shortage of olive oil and butter, the enrichment of the soil by the use of Cottonseed Meal, a by-product of the seed, the greatly increased development of the dairy and live-stock interests of the South by the use of the meal and hulls, the establishment of mattress factories by the use of the linters, and the erection of plants for the manufacture of machinery used in operating cotton oil mills.
3.2. Historical Overview of By-Product Development
3.3. Cottonseed By-Products: The Basics
3.3.1. Meal and Hulls
3.3.2. Cottonseed Oil
3.4. Extracting Cottonseed By-Products
3.4.1. Getting Rid of the Fuzz
3.4.2. Cottonseed Hulling
A mill built in about 1814 by planter and political leader David R. Williams of Society Hill, South Carolina, failed, because Williams tried to press oil from the whole seed as flaxseed processors did. […] Williams must have been working with seed from short-staple, or upland, cotton. […] Seed from upland cotton, even after ginning, are covered with short fibers and fuzz, which absorb too much oil. The tough, lint-covered hulls must be removed from the kernels before pressing.
The first practical cottonseed huller was designed by Francis Follett and Jabez Smith of Petersburg, Virginia. Follett patented a huller in 1829, and Smith patented an improved huller the same year. With financial backing from Follett, Smith built and marketed hullers and an improved oil press during the late 1820s and early 1830s. In an 1829 letter describing the machines, David Williams said that it had not occurred to him fifteen years earlier that the seed ‘might be hulled, like rice, so as to separate the kernels which contain all the oil’  (pp. 4–5).
3.4.3. Cottonseed Oil and Meal Extraction
4. Secondary Materials and Long Distance Trade: The Case of Cottonseed
4.1. Historical Perspective on the Secondary Materials Trade
4.2. Industry Structure and the Profit Motive
- Cotton producers (both large ones who employed seasonal cotton pickers or tenant farmers and smaller independent ones)
- produced field cotton;
- might have historically taken a portion of cottonseed back home for planting or sold them to an intermediary, or directly to a cottonseed oil mill.
- separated the fibre from the cottonseed;
- acted as intermediaries between cotton producers and cottonseed processors.
- Cottonseed buyers (a.k.a. dealers, brokers or wholesalers)
- traded in cottonseed.
- Crushing mill operators (a.k.a. cottonseed oil mill operators)
- collected and stored cottonseed;
- produced crude cottonseed oil, cake/meals, hulls, and linters.
- refined the crude oil;
- produced other by-products in the process.
- Manufacturers of cottonseed products (from livestock feed to a wide range of consumer and industrial products)
- derived their products wholly or partly from the output of crushing mills and oil refiners.
- distributed finished product to consumer retail outlets and/or industrial customers.
4.3. Long Distance Trade
5. Other Considerations
5.1. Political Interference
5.2. Importance of Industrial Diversity and Innovation
5.2.1. Interindustrial Borrowing in the Oil and Meal Extraction: The Case of the Migrating Expanders
5.2.2. Interdisciplinary Borrowing and Research: Low-Gossypol and Glandless Cottonseed
6. Reflective Conclusions
Conflicts of Interest
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Desrochers, P.; Szurmak, J. Long Distance Trade, Locational Dynamics and By-Product Development: Insights from the History of the American Cottonseed Industry. Sustainability 2017, 9, 579. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040579
Desrochers P, Szurmak J. Long Distance Trade, Locational Dynamics and By-Product Development: Insights from the History of the American Cottonseed Industry. Sustainability. 2017; 9(4):579. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040579Chicago/Turabian Style
Desrochers, Pierre, and Joanna Szurmak. 2017. "Long Distance Trade, Locational Dynamics and By-Product Development: Insights from the History of the American Cottonseed Industry" Sustainability 9, no. 4: 579. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040579