Modern Enamelware and the Automatic Dishwasher

Posted by Darling Spring on

Josephine Cochrane’s answer to your post-dinner party woes

Josephine Garis Cochrane and her husband William were well-to-do residents of Shelbyville, Illinois, well known for throwing lavish dinner parties for their friends and neighbors in their home. Being affluent members of the community, the Cochranes employed staff to help with cleanup at each party’s end, including washing the fine china and serving dishes she so cherished. However, one morning, Josephine discovered that her precious dishware had been chipped by the staff—so she resolved to wash every dish on her own moving forward to ensure her precious kitchenwares would remain intact. 

Of course, with all the parties, this became a big job for Josephine, and she wondered why no one had come up with an easier way to clean household dishes. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention—and the ease of completing this overwhelming household task became Josephine’s necessity. She began working on initial sketches of her automatic dishwasher, which used water pressure and a turning wheel to spray dishes clean. Together with mechanic George Butters, Josephine built the first commercially successful automatic dishwasher and the two received a patent for the world-changing invention in 1886.

The automatic dishwasher: The legacy of a lifetime

The dishwasher debuted at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, where it was awarded the "best mechanical construction, durability and adaptation to its line of work".  Although Josephine intended for her invention to take the household market by storm, it was actually first lauded by the hospitality industry—saving hotels and restaurants massive amounts of time and resources in their industrial kitchens, where hot water was plentiful. Once hot water became available to most households in the 1950s, Cochrane’s automatic dishwasher could be found in home kitchens across America. Her company eventually became what is now KitchenAid, and, in 2006, Josephine Cochrane was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

What you didn’t know about enamelware

Thanks to Josephine Cochrane’s innovations, today’s home cooks can entertain with ease knowing their automatic dishwashers can safely and efficiently clean even the most unique and precious kitchenware. In fact, all of the Kapka colorful enamel tableware available on our site is dishwasher safe—from the stylish, handmade mugs and cups to the full line of dinnerware, fruit plates, trays, and colanders. Kapka enamelware transcends generations, all at once staying true to the artisanship of the handmade dinnerware Josephine Cochrane so admired, recalling the retro-style of 50s homemakers who first enjoyed the fruits of her innovations, and showing today’s home entertainers how dishwasher-safe enamelware fits into the latest table decor trends.

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