Friday / Weekend Open Line

The inventor of the first practical automatic dishwasher was born on this date in 1839 and was perhaps an unlikely candidate for the distinction. Josephine Cochrane was a socialite and devised the dishwasher out of some annoyance at how her domestic staff damaged her china. Awarded a patent in 1886, Cochrane sold her machines in the 1890s mainly to restaurants and hotels. Her company eventually became KitchenAid, now part of the Whirlpool Corporation. In 2011, the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey found that of the nation’s more than 132 million housing units, almost 86 million had automatic dishwashers. They are sold at the nation’s more than 16,000 household appliance stores. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <>