Josephine Cochrane


Josephine Garis Cochran (she added an "e" to Cochran) invented the first workable washing machine to wash dishes. A prominent socialite, she grew tired of her servants repeatedly breaking her fine china and reportedly said "If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I'll do it myself." A hand cranked wooden machine had in fact been invented and patented in 1850 Joel Houghton. Josephine Cochrane's version was patented in 1886 and unveiled at the Chicago World Fair in 1893. Cochrane's washing machine was described as "a new and useful improvement in dish washing machines." She formed her own company, Cochran's Crescent Washing Machine Company to manufacture the machines and the washing machines initially were sold mainly to hotels and restaurants. Cochran's Crescent Washing Machine Company eventually became the Kitchen Aid Company. Josephine Cochrane died in in 1913.

Vesta Roman Goddess of the Hearth

References:

Women Invent;Two Centuries of discoveries That Have Shaped Our World by Susan Casey (Chicago Review Press, 1997) p. 9.
The Woman Who Invented the Dishwasher by J.M. Fenster,(Invention & Technology, Fall 1999) pp. 54-61.
Patently Female by Ethlie Vare and Greg Ptacek (John Wiley, 2002) p.3, pp. 139-39.

Web Sites

Josephine Cochrane
Inventions for the Housewife
Engineering Innovations
Home Conveniences Throughout the Ages
Dishwasher History
Technology and Domesticity
Garis Cochrane Dishwasher