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Who Invented the Dishwasher

Dishwashers are a fantastic invention that save many of us time and effort. They are used by home owners and large companies alike as they are simple and convenient to use and do a great job of clean our dishes and cutlery. Most of us would think that the dishwasher was a modern invention, but in actuality it has been around for 125 years.

The first dishwasher was patented in 1850 by an American named Joel Houghton. This was a manual dishwashing machine composed of wood and was hand cranked while water sprayed on the dishes. It was highly unreliable and impractical. Another early patent was granted to L.A. Alexander in 1865, but his system was similar and just as unreliable.

The predecessor to the modern day dishwasher was invented by a woman named Josephine Cochrane. She invented the dishwasher after searching for a dishwashing machine and finding none. Josephine Cochrane never had to wash her own dishes, but was tired of her servants chipping her good china, which was expensive to replace. Josephine Cochrane patented her invention on December 28, 1886 and unveiled it at the Chicago’s World Fair in 1893. It won the highest prize at the fair. Josephine Cochrane thought that her invention would be welcomed by public, but she mostly sold her dishwashers to hotels and large restaurants. The dishwasher was hand-operated and consisted of wire racks measured to hold dishes placed inside a wheel that lay flat in a copper boiler. The wheel was then turned by hand from the outside of the copper boiler.

The general public showed little interest in the dishwasher until the 1950’s. By this time permanent plumbing had been installed in the dishwashers. Smaller more compact models had also been designed and made starting with the invention of William Howard Livens in 1924. In the 1940’s electric drying elements were also added to the dishwasher making it more practical for domestic use. ?

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