Rewind 160 years ago to the invention of the dishwasher. Some believe it created a revolution – changing the way we operate in the kitchen, saving time and bringing forth an entire array of dishwashing options. Who invented this lifesaver of an appliance?

The Invention of the Dishwasher

The dishwasher patent dates back to 1850 and Joel Houghton. His original design was made of wood; when turned on, water passed through a wood plumbing system and sprayed over the dishes. Fast forward to 1887, and Josephine Cochrane improved upon Houghton’s model and presented it at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893.

Josephine’s dishwasher was automated and had a copper boiler with a wooden wheel. The motor could be powered or driven by hand, using a pulley. Dishes were placed in wired compartments, spun around and sprayed with soapy water.

Fast forward again to 1924, and we have a new iteration of the dishwasher – one that is more efficient and more closely resembles what we know and love today as a modern dishwasher. With a rotating sprayer and rack system, the 1924 version of the dishwasher required indoor plumbing, which meant online wealthy people could afford it.

Dishwashers continued to be a luxury item until the 1950s, when a majority of American’s owned a dishwasher. The machine became easier to use, equipped with pre-soak cycles, removable trays, racks and better rotating sprayers.  

Today, nearly 75% of households own a dishwasher, saving water and energy across the county and changing the way we design kitchens. Shop our selection of dishwashers here.