Josephine Cochrane


This week, we highlight Josephine Cochrane, a pioneer and innovator that navigated outside the barriers of gender roles. Josephine was raised in Valparaiso, Indiana. She is best known for her invention of the dishwasher, which she constructed alongside mechanic George Butters. After one of her maids chipped some of her China dishes, she was inspired to come up with a way to wash dishes safely. Additionally, she wanted to relieve the maids of their duties after a full day of work. In the shed behind her home, Josephine drafted the first model of her dishwasher. She named it Cochrane’s dishwasher and it became the first mechanical device to use water pressure in place of scrubbers. Josephine was honored for her futuristic invention at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and was awarded one of the highest prizes. In 2006, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of fame.