The Invention of the Dishwasher: Everything You Should Know


Do you know the invention of the dishwasher? Josephine Cochran is best known for creating the dishwasher. Her grandfather was also an inventor who received a patent for a steamboat.

160 years ago, the first dishwasher was created. It sparked a revolution that gave rise to the modern, svelte digital dishwashers. The dishwasher of today is streamlined, functional, and has elegant lines. This appliance has a long and, to put it mildly, impressive history.

Find out more about the history of the dishwasher and Josephine Cochran’s contribution to its creation.

Invention of the Dishwasher

A wooden device that sprayed water on dishes and had a hand-turned wheel was patented by Joel Houghton in 1850. It was hardly a functional machine, but it was the first to receive a patent. Next, around the 1860s, L. With a geared mechanism that allowed the user to spin racked dishes through a tub of water, A. Alexander improved the device. The effectiveness of either of these tools was minimal.

In 1886, Cochran proclaimed in disgust, “I’ll create one on my own if no one else does if I have to.” Cochran developed the first useful dishwasher, and she did. In Shelbyville, Illinois, she created the first model in the storage building next to her home. She invented the first dishwasher that cleaned the dishes with water pressure rather than scrubbers. On December 28, 1886, she received a patent.

When Cochran unveiled her new invention at the 1893 World’s Fair, she had anticipated that it would be well received by the public. However, only hotels and sizable restaurants were interested in her concepts. Dishwashers did not become popular with the general public until the 1950s.


It was a mechanical dishwasher that Cochran operated by hand. She established a business to produce these dishwashers, which later evolved into KitchenAid.

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Biography of Josephine Cochran

John Garis and Irene Fitch Garis, both civil engineers, were the parents of Cochran. Irene Garis Ransom, her only sibling, was born. As was already mentioned, her grandfather John Fitch, who is also the father of her mother Irene, was a scientist who received a patent for a steamboat. She was raised in Valparaiso, Indiana, and attended a private school there until it burned down.

On October 13, 1858, she married William Cochran in Shelbyville, Illinois after relocating there to live with her sister. William had returned the year before from a failed attempt at the California Gold Rush and had gone on to become a successful dry goods merchant and Democratic Party politician. Hallie Cochran, a son who died at the age of 2, and Katharine Cochran, a daughter, were their two children.

They relocated to a mansion in 1870 and started hosting dinner parties with china that was purported to date back to the 1600s. After a particular event, the maids carelessly chipped some of the dishes, prompting Josephine Cochran to look for a more suitable replacement. She also desired to relieve worn-out housewives of the chore of cleaning the dishes after meals. She is said to have run through the streets screaming with blood in her eyes, “I’ll develop a dishwashing machine on my own if no one else does.”

She was 45 years old when her alcoholic husband passed away in 1883, leaving her with numerous debts and little money, which inspired her to proceed with developing the dishwasher. Her friends loved her invention and had her make dishwashing machines for them, calling them “Cochrane Dishwashers,” later founding the Company that makes Garis-Cochran products.

A New Dishwashing Invention

Dishwashers today are more technologically and operationally advanced. They don’t resemble earlier inventions; rather, they resemble a dishwasher that was created in 1924. Like contemporary dishwashers, it featured a rotating rack and sprayer system. However, the 1924 invention lacked proper design elements like indoor plumbing, making it only accessible to the wealthy.

How Has the Invention Changed the World?

Until the 1950s, dishwashers were a luxury item. In the 1970s, the dishwasher became a standard appliance for American families. 75% of Americans now have a dishwasher at home. The modern dishwasher is also simpler to operate. They feature better rotating sprayers, removable trays, racks, and pre-soak cycles. The latest dishwashers are amazing innovations. Newer dishwashers reportedly save water and energy, which protects our natural resources, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s US Department of Energy. The way we design kitchens and contemporary homes has finally undergone a significant change thanks to them.

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Who Invented the Automatic Dishwasher?

Josephine Cochrane, inventor of the first commercially successful dishwashing machine, was born in 1839 in Ashtabula County, Ohio.

What Did the First Dishwasher Look Like?

Joel Houghton’s invention of the dishwasher received a patent in 1850. It was a wooden box that used a hand-turned wheel to splash water on dirty dishes, and it had scrubbers.

How Did the First Dishwasher Work?

Joel Houghton created the first dishwasher to be given a patent in 1850. It was a wooden box that used a hand-turned wheel to splash water on dirty dishes, and it had scrubbers.

Final Words

Joel Houghton patented the first mechanical dishwashing machine in the US in 1850. Water sprayed onto the dishes as it was manually turned on, and the device was made of wood. Both slow and unreliable, this device.

About 68 percent of homes in America have a dishwasher, and about half of these households use it once to six times per week.

In comparison to hand washing, dishwashers use less water and, consequently, less fuel to heat the water. With the exception of small amounts washed without running water in wash bowls.

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