Cochran, Josephine C.

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b. c.1842 Ohio, USA
d. after November 1908 USA
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American inventor of the dishwashing machine.
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Amidst the growing cohorts of American inventors who began to deluge the patent office with their inventions from around the middle of the nineteenth century are at least 30 women who received patents for dishwashers. Of these, it seems that Josephine C.Cochran can be credited with the invention of the first commercially available dishwasher. She developed her machine over a period often years, achieving patents in 1886 and 1888, with a third in 1894 for a "dish-cleaner". She completed the work in 1889, only after the death of her husband, who had kept her too short of funds to perfect her invention. Cochran exhibited her dishwasher at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1892. There was a smaller, "family"-size machine for domestic use and a larger model, steam-driven, for major hotels and restaurants; this latter model was used by many such establishments in Chicago. It was said that the large machine could scald, rinse and dry up to 240 plates of various shapes and sizes in two minutes. Her invention had won her sufficient fame to earn her a place in a list, published in 1886, of prominent American women inventors.
Little is known of Cochran's personal details, save that she was married to a circuit clerk ten years her senior, by whom she had a daughter. She was still active in November 1908, for she exhibited again at the Martha Washington Hotel Suffrage Bazaar in New York City.
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Further Reading
A.Stanley, 1993, Mothers and Daughters of Invention, Meruchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, pp. 438–9.
LRD

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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