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Josephine and her Dishwashing Machine

Josephine Cochrane's Bright Invention

Makes a Big Splash



Calkins Creek

(Astra Books for Young Readers)

(pub.3.14.2023) 40 pages

ages 7-10

Author: Kate Hannigan

Illustrator: Sarah Green

Character: Josephine Cochrane


" Many Americans have a dishwasher in their kitchen. But who invented it?

Meet Josephine Garis Cochrane: entrepreneur, innovator, girlboss. Washing dishes is a pain—it leaves Josephine's cups cracked, her dishes dinged, and her chowder bowls chipped. She’d rather be picking flowers, frosting cakes, or playing piano than dealing with cracked crockery. What to do about a chore that’s icky, destructive, and time-consuming? Josephine tackles this task the modern way: she makes a machine to do it for her! She tinkers and tests, and perseveres through fizzles and flops—until she has a government patent for her invention, and there are whirring, whizzing, bubbling dishwashers making a splash across America

Tantalizing taste:

" In the 1870s and '80s, inventors were hard at work.

Margaret E. Knight built a machine to produce paper grocery bags.

Thomas Edison was tinkering with the electric light bulb.

Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.

And Sarah E. Goode was building a bed that converted into a desk.

Josephine's blood also pumped with an inventive spirit. Her father, John Garis, had conquered raging rivers by building bridges. Her great-grandfather, John Fitch , had mastered water travel by designing steamboats.

She wanted to triumph over water, too."

And something more: Kate Hannigan in the Author's Note shares quotes from Josephine: "'If I knew all I know today when I began to put the dishwasher on the market, I never would have had the courage to start,' Josephine said looking back on her career. 'But, then, I would have missed a very wonderful experience.'"


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