History Lesson


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1917 hand powerd dishwasher. Image is from wikipedia.

The first reference of a dishwasher dates back to 1850. It was a wooden hand-powered device that is said to have been invented by Joel Houghton. The idea was that the user spins the handle while water gets sprayed into the contraption. About 15 years later in 1865, L.A Alexander created a similar design. The only difference was that it had a hand-cracked rack system. Unfortunately both designs were inefficient, unreliable and very slow and where pretty much abandoned. 

The first somewhat reliable dishwasher was invented by Josephine Cochrane and George Butters. It was first shown at the World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois in 1893. The idea came to Cochrane when her servants damaged one of her good china dishes while it was being cleaned. Her frustrating lead to an invention, which lead to becoming a part of the elevation of dishwashers.

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1940’s dishwasher. Photo from telegraph.co.uk.

Afterward came a small non-electric device that resembled a lot of the same design elements. It was invented by William Howard Livens in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. It was equipped with a front door, a rotating sprayer and a wire rack. It was much more reliable that the precious models. William added drying elements into the design in 1940. Despite the amount of design success Livens’s dishwasher didn’t become commercially successful and only managed to sell in a utility store in the United Kingdom. Originally, the dish washer was a stand alone and portable device but with the development of a day modern kitchen, the dishwasher had to adapt.

Since 1850, the dishwasher has come a very long way. In 2012, it was estimated that over 75 percent of homes in the Untied States and Germany had dishwashers. We’re still evolving the dishwasher to this day. With new innovative and more eco-friendly alternatives being brought the market.