A cotton press for compressing short-staple cotton. To maximize use of space on the vessels in which cotton was shipped to England, the use of cotton presses to compress the bulky cotton was adopted early. The first cast-iron screw press was developed around 1800. Some later hydraulic screw presses could pack 40 or 50 bales a day. As presses became more efficient, the average weight of bales gradually increased to around 500 pounds before the Civil War. "Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper," sketched by James E. Taylor, published in April, 1869.
Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.