Hand-cranked dishwasher was first patented by Joel Houghton in 1850 but his design was not practical.

Chipping of fine china dishes due to clumsy handling by servants got American inventor, Josephine Cochrane thinking. She went on to design the first practical dishwasher.

This mechanical dishwasher consisted of a wire rack mounted over a copper boiler. The wire rack which held the cups and plates was mounted on a wheel which rotated. Hot pressurized water was sprayed on the cups and plates which got them cleaned.

Cochrane patented the dishwasher in 1886. It was exhibited in the Chicago’s world fair in 1893 and won a prize. Thereafter, Cochrane’s dishwasher became a household name. Soon orders started flowing in and the dishwasher was being marketed to hotels and restaurants in Illinois. Cochrane’s company was bought by KitchenAid in 1916 which continued to market the product.


It was not until the 1950s that dishwashers became more popular with the use of electronic motors and better plumbing. Today, dishwasher is a common kitchen appliance.

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