Meet Josephine Garis Cochrane, inventor of the dishwasher (1892)

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The inventor of the dishwashing machine

The patron saint of the emancipated woman of the future will be Josephine Garis Cochrane, the inventor of the dishwashing machine. She will be enshrined in the grateful heart of womanhood when the memory of Susan B Anthony and the rest is lost in oblivion, and at the base of every column reared to commemorate the noble achievements of free and happy women her name should be written in shining letters.

Josephine Cochrane was an extremely pretty western girl, eagerly interested in the most flippant affairs of society, with all the money she wanted to spend, all the pleasures she desired, with no dishes to wash for herself, and no anxiety about the women who did have to roughen their fingers in the suds.

Josephine Garis Cochrane invented the dishwasher

In due time, she married, like other pretty girls, but it was not until after the death of her husband that the idea of the machine came to her.

She doesn’t know exactly how or when it came; she only knows that it pursued her and tormented her until she began to work it out.

She did not know the name of a tool or the principles of a transmitted power, and she had no idea of drawing or constructing a model. She had to get the elementary books and sit down like a child and study before she could make her ideas tangible to the mechanics who carried them out.

She worked at her models nearly eight years, spent her entire fortune, $25,000, on the device, and finally succeeded in perfecting this wonderful dishwasher that never nicks or chips your precious plates, has no antipathy to handles on cups; that never loses its temper, asks for days off, nights out or permission to go to relatives’ funerals; that doesn’t serve your choicest wines to kitchen callers, borrow your Sunday things or give warning when your husband’s relatives are coming on a visit.

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Just now the machine is in use only in the large hotels, where it washes in an hour the entire service for 400 guests, but Mrs. Cochrane is forming a company to manufacture smaller sizes for private houses. – New York Sun

Garis-Cochrane Dish Washing Machine (1909 & 1908)


Garis-Cochrane patent application (1886)

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