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Josephine Cochran

COCHRAN/COCHRANE/COCKRAN, Josephine, American housewife, 1839-1913. The inventor of an efficient manual dishwasher, mechanical and tedious but better than earlier models. Josephine had worked for 10 years perfecting it and applied for patents in 1886, 1888 and 1894. It was first exhibited in 1892. There was a small domestic appliance driven by a hand crank, which caused soapy water to be sprayed over the dishes. Also there was a larger model, popular in restaurants and hotels, they were the best available until electric versions appeared. Both were steam driven, but her domestic machine was not too popular since it leaked like all other early dishwashers. This did not bother the commercial users of course. Josephine’s invention developed after she realised how many plates her servants were breaking whilst washing them by hand.


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