Josephine Cochrane ( 1839-1913) – The Dishwasher
As the story goes, Josephine Cochrane was so fed up with her servants breaking her dishes that she decided to start washing them herself...then she realized why she had servants doing it in the first place – washing dishes is a pain in butt. Why couldn't someone invent some sort of machine to do this, she thought.
Well, if you want something done, sometimes you have to do it yourself. Calling upon a local mechanic, George Butters, for assistance, Cochrane decided to design and build her own dish washing machine in the shed behind her home in Shelbyville, Ill. Other unsuccessful attempts at a dishwasher had been made prior to Cochrane's work, but she was the one who finally got it right. Her machine featured compartments designed to fit specific dishware (cups, plates, saucers, ect.) and a motor-spun wheel that squirted soapy water up onto the dishes.
Cochrane debuted her invention in the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where it was an instant hit. Following a patent, Cochrane opened her first dishwasher factory, Garis-Cochrane in 1897 (Butters became an employee there). Cochrane continud to sell dishwashers personally up to her death in 1913 and by the 1950s the dishwasher was a staple in modern homes. In 1916, Garis-Cochrane was acquired by Hobart, a company that has since changed its name to the familiar Whirlpool Corporation.
(Image source: The Robinson Library)