Fact File about the Invention of the Dishwasher: Invention: Dishwasher *** Date of Invention: 1887 *** Name of Inventor:
Josephine Cochran *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1839 - 1913 *** Nationality of Inventor: American *** Historical Period: Second US Industrial Revolution / Victorian (1850 - 1914) *** Category: Household Items *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the Inventor,
Josephine Cochran,†and the
invention of the first reliable hand-powered Dishwasher ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Dishwasher? The Dishwasher was invented by
Josephine Cochran in 1887 during the Second US Industrial Revolution era of
inventions (1850 - 1914).
Fact 2: Who invented the Dishwasher? Prior to the invention of the
Dishwasher in 1887, hand-powered dishwashing machines were invented by Joel
Houghton in 1850 and L.A. Alexander in 1865. Both of these dishwashing machines
proved to be unreliable and slow to use. The only alternative was to wash dishes
Fact 3: Who invented the Dishwasher? The inventor of the first reliable
hand-powered dishwasher. It was the first dishwasher to use water pressure
rather than scrubbers to wash and clean the dishes inside the machine.
Fact 5: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochran was born Josephine
Garis on March 8, 1839. The early years of Josephine were spent in Ashtabula County, Ohio, United States where
she was raised by his family. Her father was John Garis, a civil engineer, and
her mother's name was Irene Fitch Garis. Josephine Garis Cochran had one sister
called Irene Garis.
Fact 6: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochran was educated at excellent home education
and gained an interest in new technology and mechanical engineering from her
Fact 7: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochran received a good
education at a private school and the family were connected. The flair for
creating inventions ran in the family and her maternal grandfather was John
Fitch who was an early pioneer of the steamboat.
Fact 8: Who invented the Dishwasher? Following her education and
graduation Josephine moved in with her sister Irene who had settled Shelbyville,
Fact 9: Who invented the Dishwasher? At age 19 Josephine married 27 year
old William Cochran who became a wealthy merchant and investor. The couple lived
in a large mansion with servants and a comfortable lifestyle as William became a
rising star in the Democratic Party.
Fact 10: Who invented the Dishwasher? An independent woman and an early
feminist, she assumed her husbandís name but preferred spelling Cochran with an
"e" on the end, much to the annoyance of the Cochran family.
Fact 11: Who invented the Dishwasher? The couple went on to have a son
called Hallie who sadly died in infancy and a daughter called Katharine.
Fact 12: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane was a member of
the social elite and supervised many dinner parties at the mansion. She took
great pride in displaying and using the valuable, heirloom china which
apparently dated back to the 1600's. Providing entertainment was a common
occurrence in the Cochrane mansion and was no problem for the confident and
sophisticated Josephine Cochrane and she had servants who undertake the chores
required after such parties, which of course included washing the dishes.
Fact 13: Who invented the Dishwasher? After one such event Josephine
Cochrane was furious to discover that some of her precious china dinner service
had been carelessly chipped by the servants. Josephine was so annoyed that she
vowed she would never allow her servants to clean the fine china dishes again.
Despite this unpleasant task she refused to give in and found herself regularly
washing up at the kitchen sink.
Fact 14: Who invented the Dishwasher? It was these events that led
Josephine Cochrane's invention of the Dishwasher. It was 1883 during the period
known as the Industrial
Revolution when various labor saving, useful household devices had already
been invented such as the the
the iron, the Phonograph and the
Even the first
Car had been invented
- but no one had invented a reliable, mechanical dishwasher.
Fact 15: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane decided that she
would invent a dishwasher. She was intelligent, well educated and had inherited
an understanding of mechanics from her father. Her basic idea for the invention
of a dishwasher was a device that held the dishes securely in a rack, as the
pressure of spraying water cleaned the dirty dishes.
Fact 16: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane was excited by
her ideas for the invention of a Dishwasher but her enthusiasm was cut short
when her alcoholic husband died in 1883, shortly after she had first thought of
her idea. Despite having all the trappings of wealth it turned out that her
husband was deeply in debt.
Fact 17: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane was motivated to
produce and market a reliable dishwasher as a way of easing her financial
burdens. It was extremely unusual for a woman to become involved in inventions
and practically unheard of for a woman to design a mechanical device. She went
to various mechanics to show them the plans for her device but she, and her
idea, was treated with great disdain. The attitude of me at the time was a
"woman's place is in the home".
Fact 18: Who invented the Dishwasher? The determined Josephine Cochrane
flouted convention and continued her search for someone to help her with the
construction of the dishwasher. She then met George Butters, a local mechanic
employed by the Illinois Central Railroad, and hired him to work part-time on
creating a mechanical dishwasher from her designs.
Fact 19: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane with the help of
George Butters built a dishwasher in a shed behind her home. The
dishwasher design featured a wire rack with compartments for loading various,
different shaped dishes, that was placed inside a wheel on a copper boiler. A
motor turned the wheel whilst hot, soapy water sprayed from the bottom of the
boiler on to the dishes.
Fact 20: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane immediately
installed the device in her kitchen. It was a reliable, labor saving machine
that would appeal to all women who had to wash dishes.
Fact 21: Who invented the Dishwasher? She received her first patent on
the Garis-Cochran Dish-Washing Machine on December 28, 1886.
Fact 22: Who invented the Dishwasher? Inventing and building the
Dishwasher was one thing, bring the product to market and selling the device was
quite another. There was not the interest for such a device by ordinary
housewives. Anyone who could afford such a machine already had servants who did
the work for them.
Fact 23: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane then realized
that potential customers might be the owners of hotels or restaurants. After
meeting with considerable prejudice from a world dominated by men Josephine
Cochrane eventually sold her first dishwashers to the Palmer House hotel and
then the Sherman House hotel in Chicago. Both were delighted with the new
product and gave her recommendations for her product.
Fact 24: Who invented the Dishwasher? As luck would have it her new
invention of the dishwasher coincided with an important event to be held in
Chicago. It was the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, aka the Chicago World's
Fair and Josephine Cochrane grabbed the opportunity to display her invention and
hopefully get some orders for her dishwasher.
Fact 25: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane and George
Butters set up their invention as an exhibit in Machinery Hall at the 1893
Chicago World's Fair. The dishwasher attracted significant interest and
Josephine Cochrane received orders from other hotels and some restaurants for
her innovative device that was reliable, durable and adaptable.
Fact 26: Who invented the Dishwasher? The success of the dishwasher at
Chicago World's Fair led to Josephine Cochrane to establish the Garis-Cochran
Dish-Washing Machine Company in an abandoned schoolhouse in 1897. George Butters
left his job at the railroad and became factory foreman and chief mechanic.
Fact 27: Who invented the Dishwasher? The product was a great success and
the use of the dishwasher was extended to hospitals and colleges. A lack of
indoor plumbing meant that only wealthy people owned dishwashers and they
remained a luxury item until well into the 1950's.
Fact 28: Who invented the Dishwasher? Josephine Cochrane died on August 14, 1913
and will be remembered in history as the independent woman who invented the
Fact 29: Who invented the Dishwasher? After the death of Josephine Cochrane
her company was purchased by The Hobart Manufacturing Company. Hobart went on to
manufacture dishwashers in 1949 under the KitchenAid brand, which is now owned