The woman who invented the dishwasher

Published on January 4th, 2012
The woman who invented the dishwasher

Way back in 1886, a lady named Josephine Cochrane lived in a mansion in Illinois, USA, and loved hosting fancy parties. One day, after her servants broke yet another expensive china saucer while washing  up, she proclaimed, “If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I’ll do it myself.” And then she did.

She started out by measuring the dishes and then built wire compartments, each specifically designed to fit plates, cups, or saucers. The compartments were placed inside a wheel that lay flat inside a copper boiler. A motor turned the wheel while hot soapy water squirted up from the bottom of the boiler and rained down on the dishes.

After building a “Cochrane Dishwasher” for all her eternally grateful friends, hotels and restaurants started putting in orders. At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair she walked away with the highest award and worldwide acclaim.

And about 120 years later, we too would like to thank her from the bottom of our hearts … and our kitchen sinks.