While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


MUNGER, ROBERT SYLVESTER (1854–1923). 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.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, "MUNGER, ROBERT SYLVESTER," accessed August 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmu04.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 28, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...