DishwasherJosephine Garis Cochran was the first person to design a practical dishwasher in the year 1886. She designed the first model in a shed behind her house in Shelbyville. Cochran desired to help relieve tired housewives and mothers of their duty of doing dishes after cooking meals. She reportedly went around saying, "If nobody else is going to invent a dish washing machine, I'll do it myself."

Cochran received the first U.S. patent for her commercially successful dishwasher on Dec. 28, 1886. She later unveiled her invention at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. She expected the invention to take to homes immediately. However, at first only restaurants and hotels were interested by her idea, and it was not until the 1950s when dishwashers became popular accessories for American homes.  

Her invention had dishes fit in compartments in a wheel that turned inside a copper boiler. It was no surprise Cochran was able to come up with a brilliant idea, as she was born into a family of inventors. Her grandfather was awarded the patent for the steamboat. She built her prototype for the machine alongside mechanic George Butters. Eventually, her invention led to the creation of the company that would later be known as KitchenAid. For her invention, Josephine Cochran was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.

Cochran built her prototype in Shelbyville and unveiled it at the Chicago World’s Fair. She succeeded in her goal of helping the American housewife, even if it took a few decades for the idea to take off in American households. A common household appliance and its inventor can trace their origins back to Illinois.