Munger, Robert Sylvester (1854–1923)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 1, 1995

Robert Sylvester Munger, inventor, son of Henry Martin and Jane (McNutt) Munger, was born at Rutersville, Texas, on July 24, 1854. He attended Trinity University at Tehuacana, but before graduating he was placed in charge of his father's gin at Mexia, where his interest in machinery and his inventive talent developed until he became a pioneer in the improvement of ginning machinery in the United States. He devised a pneumatic system to convey seed cotton to the gin, patented saw cleaners for ginning machines in 1878 and 1879, and patented a saw-sharpening tool in 1882. Unable to interest manufacturers in his devices, he established his own manufacturing plant and operated it at Dallas from 1885 to 1888. In 1888 he organized the Munger Improved Cotton Machine Company at Dallas. In 1889 he moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where in 1892 he organized the Northington-Munger-Pratt Company to manufacture cotton-gin machinery. He perfected his system of pneumatic handling of cotton and patented his system machine on July 12, 1892. His other inventions included the duplex cotton press (October 4, 1892), an improvement in the pneumatic system (November 28, 1893), a baling machine and cotton elevator, a cleaner and feeder (August 1901), and an improvement on the cotton cleaner (August 1919). In 1902 Munger sold his interest in the business and devoted his time to real estate interests by developing Munger Place in Dallas. He married Mary Collett of Austin on May 2, 1878. He died in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 20, 1923, and was buried there.

Dallas Morning News, April 21, 1923. Dictionary of American Biography.

  • Agriculture
  • Science
  • Scientists and Researchers
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Munger, Robert Sylvester,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995

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