Mother’s Day Special: The History of Modern Dishwashers

Image from

Making Women Happy since 1886.

The first modern dishwasher was designed and invented by a woman who had never washed a dish in her life. 

Josephine Cochrane, grand-daughter of the man who invented the steam boat, hand-built the dishwasher by making the racks out of wire and placing them into a copper boiler. To make it automated and save her servants the trouble (and saving her fine china), she attached a motor to a wheel that sprayed the water down on the dishes. In 1886, the first modern-day dishwasher was born. When her friends heard of the new contraption, they started ordering them from her, and in 1893, when Cochrane showcased the invention at the Chicago World’s Fair, it became a hit. 

In the 1920s, models became available with permanent plumbing installed, and soon after a man named William Howard Livens invented one small enough for use in regular households. Although his invention was not successful, in the 1940s electric drying elements were added to aid in heating the water and drying. 

Mostly restaurants and hotels picked up the automatic dishwasher at first, but by the 1970s, dishwashers were a commonplace domestic item in the United States. Over 60% of American homes have automatic dishwashers, and they’ve come a long way since their 1940s counterparts. Though the basics have stayed the same, dishwashers are now available with stainless steel interiors, hard-food disposals and better cleaning technology (like the Maytag MDB6769AW). 

The first dishwasher contraption by Josephine Cochrane.

The first modern dishwasher: I don't think this baby will fit underneath your countertops.

With the immense success of Ms. Cochrane’s invention, she went on to start the Garis-Cochran Manufacturing Company, which eventually got acquired by KitchenAid and Whirlpool. Whirlpool is now one of the largest appliance manufacturers in the world, owning not just KitchenAid, but Jenn-Air, Amana and Maytag, as well. 

As an ode to the mother of dishwashers, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day with special discounts on dishwashers. Stop by your local Appliance Factory Outlet this week to check out what deals we’ve got going on, or sign up for our newsletter to get exclusive discounts.

Counting Calories? This Maytag Refrigerator Can Help

The Maytag MFX2571XEM features a color touch LED screen that helps you count calories.

The refrigerator isn’t always your biggest ally when it comes to your diet. But premium features on the new Maytag MFX2571XEM can help you to stay fit and eat fresher foods.

The new Maytag MFX2571XEM is the latest in Maytag’s “Ice2O” series. It’s a classy French door refrigerator with beautiful shelving and drawer space—the refrigerator has a glass floor, so you can check your produce inventory in the extra bottom drawer while grabbing a glass of no-sugar-added apple juice. That extra drawer adds a ton of space—up to five grocery bag-fulls of your favorite produce or deli meat.

The bottom freezer drawer is even larger—since it sits on the bottom, mini chest freezer, as you can fit large amounts of food without having to “stack it” like in top-mount freezers. It also features two rolling drawers to put every day food items in, such as TV dinners or those delicious pot pies made by Marie Callendar.

But on your healthy diet, you’ll be staying away from those premade frozen meals, right? However, if you’re the only one in the house dieting, it just goes to show that this refrigerator is adaptable to any family environment—whether your focus is on protecting that fresh produce or having quick, convenient access to premade meals (because sometimes we all get a little busy).

The coolest part, of course, is the calorie counting. It doesn’t actually count your calories for you (you still have to hold some of the responsibility for your diet, geez!), but there is a handy nutritional database of common food items right in the LCD touch screen of the water dispenser. I checked it out myself (see pictures) and looked up the nutritional value of my favorite food—avocadoes! Delicious. The database’s food groups include dairy, fruits, meat, and of course, that mysterious “other” food group. It’s really fantastic—say you want that midnight snack but you’re not sure what to eat? Within a few seconds you can find out just how many calories are in that handful of almonds versus a small apple.. and voila, smart and healthy snacking.. even when it’s a midnight snack.

It also has handy food storage tips in order to maximize the life of your fresh produce and meats, so you can eat fresher, longer.

Overall? This fridge is perfect for the sophisticated consumer who’s looking for a refrigerator that fits neatly into your lifestyle, whether you are a busy mom or health food nut. The calorie-counting guide is perfect for those in need of a little helpful reminder everytime they go to the fridge, and it’s available at Appliance Factory Outlet & Mattresses—where we find you the best appliances to fit not just your lifestyle but your budget, too.