I know it sounds like a punishment but I know that other people get paid for it and some people do it for free. This morning, after 5 years of service, our dishwasher died. Once a year, we have had to call in a service request and have the pump fixed. So, it cleans the dishes but cannot pump the water out when it is finished. I know that after spending 30 minutes cleaning the pots, pans and other dishes by hand, that there is someone who will tell me "when I was young we had to wash dishes every day by hand." This kind of a statement is fine but not one that should be taken seriously when you live in a first world country. People used to have to dig a hole in the ground for their latrine, but no longer as we now have indoor plumbing. When a toilet breaks, do we go outside and pee on the side of the house? No. In America, air conditioning, heat, indoor plumbing, electricity and a dishwasher are pretty much considered necessary for life.
So, our 5 year old dishwasher has died. It was the first dishwasher we purchased when we moved from our apartment to our house. I looked and as a first time homeowner, after 1 year being married, my wife and I looked for the best we could afford. The Frigidaire was the best we could get at Best Buy for $299. Thank God we purchased the extended 4 year warranty as this dishwasher had a broken pump or motor, every year that we had it. Sure enough, the pump broke this year, after the warranty has expired. I consider us lucky to have used the dishwasher, sometimes running twice a day, and not even using every cycle. It lasted this long!
The dishwasher was first patented in 1850 by Joel Houghton. It was wooden and used a hand crank to power the device and spray water onto the dishes. It didn't work too well.
In 1886, the first real dishwasher was invented by Josephine Cochrane and was the first motor powered dishwasher. She had said that "If nobody else is going to invent a dish washing machine, I'll do it myself!" Josephine was wealthy and had servants that did the washing but wanted to make a machine that would do the cleaning and not chip her dishes so easily. She started by measuring the dishes she had then created a rack that would fit them. She then made a large copper drum where the rack and dishes would sit as hot soapy water sprayed over them and then were rinsed afterwards. She later formed a company, that would later be called KitchenAid. Her grandfather was the inventor of the steamboat and she had enough money to make many of these dishwashers and show them off at the 1893 World Fair. She hoped everyone would get them but only restaurants and hotels bought them up.
In 1924, William Howard Livens invented the first dishwasher that was run with indoor plumbing. It had a front door for loading, a spinning sprayer and even a rack for loading dishes onto. Although rumor has it that didn't work properly and flooded the kitchen floor with water.
By 1970, electric dishwashers were commonplace and in almost all US homes for domestic use.