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The History of Dishwashers

The first mechanical dishwashing device was registered all the way back in 1850 by an American named Joel Houghton. Various patents were granted for similar devices, but none were practical or widely accepted. The most successful hand-powered dishwasher was invented by socialite Josephine Cochrane and mechanic George Butters in 1887. The first dishwasher that incorporated most of the design elements we’d expect to see today was invented in 1924 by William Howard Livens of the United Kingdom. However, dishwashers didn’t become successful domestic appliances until the postwar boom of the 1950s. Standardized sizes and shapes developed around this time, but dishwashers were still used only by the wealthy. However, by the 1970s, dishwashers had become commonplace in homes across North America and Western Europe. In the late 1990s, manufacturers began offering dishwashers with various energy conservation features, such as soil sensors and variable washing times. By 2012, over 75% of homes in the United States and Germany had dishwashers. Today, dishwashers are often considered an essential appliance and are available in many configurations and at many different price points.

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