Inventors are inspirational. Josephine Cochrane was an inventor. Some inventions come about out of the inventors desire to solve a problem. This seems to be the case with Josephine. She is known as the inventor of the first commercially-successful automatic dishwasher.
Josephine was born on March 8, 1839 in Ashtabula County, Ohio. She had one sister. Her maternal grandfather, John Fitch, was an inventor. He received a steamboat patent. She was raised in a family home in Valparaiso, Indiana until living with her sister in Shelbyville, Indiana. She then married William Cochran on October 13, 1858. They had two children.
In 1870, they moved into a mansion and began having lavish dinner parties. After one party, their servants chipped some heirloom dishes. Josephine decided to invent a dishwasher as a safe alternative and to help housewives with the chore of washing dishes. Her husband died in 1883 and she was left with debts and $1,535.59 in cash. She kept the name Cochran, but added an “e” to the end. She constructed her dishwasher with the help of mechanic George Butters. Theirs was the first dishwasher to use water pressure to clean dishes in wire compartments she designed. Friends of hers and then restaurants and hotels in Illinois began ordering dishwashers. The factory, Garis-Cochran Manufacturing Company, began production in 1897.
Josephine Cochrane died on August 14, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. With changes in plumbing, dishwashers became a common household item in the 1950s. Be inspired! Have a bright day!