Inventions by girls that changed the world, No.1 – The Dishwasher!

Let’s start with a little quiz. Which one of these occupations is the odd one out?

*teacher
*secretary
*nanny
*beauty therapist
*engineer

Did you get it? That’s right, none of them are the odd one out. Okay, maybe one or two of you wondered why ‘engineer’ is in the same list as ‘beauty therapist’, but the truth is that loads of girls are now starting careers in engineering.  Why? Because it’s fun, well paid and you can get to see the world. What more do you want?

Still not convinced? Okay…

Ever heard the one about the dishwasher?

Husband’s friend: Do you have a dishwasher in your house?

Husband: yes, my wife – she actually invented the dishwasher!

(the husband in this case was married to a girl called . But it’s still a rubbish joke, we know)

Josephine and the washing up

Alright, you might think that a woman inventing the dishwasher strengthens the cliché that women like washing up. But if you really think about, it might well have been designed because a particular woman didn’t like doing washing up. This was in fact the case. In fact, Josephine Garis-Cochran hated it.

Anyway, way back in the 1880s, the Brits and the Germans were battling away to try and create a machine that meant they could avoid the washing up and watch Glee or Big Brother instead (If you’re wondering what the 1880s version of Big Brother was like, you should probably avoid history and do engineering instead).

But the Brits and the Germans were out of luck. Enter an American washing-up-hater called Josephine Garis-Cochran. She came up with the very first dishwasher design in 1886, which she exhibited in her home town of Chicago.

Despite the obvious rubbishness of doing the washing up, Josephine’s idea didn’t really catch on until the 1950s, when a load of women found out about the invention, bought one, then promptly went off to get a job in engineering because they suddenly had so much free time (okay, we made that last bit up, history fans).

Whirlpool, no fools when it came to clever work-avoidance devices, eventually got hold of Josephine’s crazy (but very useful) invention, and decided to sell it to folks all over the world, suspiciously close to the time when men discovered it was actually possible for them to ‘do the washing up’ as well.

Anyway, in 2012 we’re lucky enough to live in a world where men and women, boys and girls – all do the washing up in equal measure. Kind of. But perhaps more importantly, we live in world where men and women, boys and girls – can all go into engineering and design the next fantastic work avoidance invention!

What are you waiting for girls? If Josephine can do it, you can too!

Sign up now!

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One Response to Inventions by girls that changed the world, No.1 – The Dishwasher!

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