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A history of the dishwasher

When was the dishwasher invented?

For many people, their dishwasher is a kitchen essential, freeing up their time and energy from washing the dishes every day and night and drying them on the drying rack.

So we know they’re an invaluable addition, but who was it who first brought this innovation to our homes – and when did they do it?

In this guide, we’re going to explore these questions and more in our guide to the history of the dishwasher, from the first ever model to the state-of-the-art appliances we have today – like those in the Candy range of dishwashers. Read on to find out more!

What was the first dishwasher?

It might be a surprise to hear, but the first technical dishwasher is much older than you might think.

The first dishwasher that worked on a mechanical basis was built in 1850 by an American inventor called Joe Hoghton. It was a hand powered device that worked by the operation of a crank on one side of a barrel; the crank, when operated, would spray water across dishes. Despite its innovative design, this initial attempt at a dishwasher wasn’t particularly efficient and thus, didn’t take off.

The next major step in dishwashing design came as another hand-operated model. It was built in 1889 by Josephine Cochrane and George Butters, and they brought it to the 1893 World Fair in Chicago – it was called the Lavaplatos and experienced moderate success.

What was the first machine-powered dishwasher?

William Howard Livens, from England, brought on the next major step in dishwasher innovation when he created an electric-powered dishwasher in 1924 that used a motor to spray water on dishes. Interestingly, Livens was also famous for developing a range of chemical and flame-based weapons of war – many of which were put to use in the first and second world wars.

The dishwasher was one of the most similar to the models we have today. It featured things like a front door to better load and stack dishes and a rotating spinner which ensured all the dishes inside the dishwasher got an equal spread of water. 

He went on to also add drying capabilities in 1940 that helped speed up the process even more. It was not a commercial success however, and certainly wasn’t available to all classes and households.

Many others took up the design however, adding and perfecting elements so that they would go on to become more accessible and reliable for everyone.

The growing success of the dishwasher

After the second world war, the dishwasher became more and more popular in the wealthier homes in the UK and beyond. The 1950s saw many innovations which meant that dishwashers could become smaller, more compact, and more aesthetically pleasing for the contemporary home.

Another two decades would see the dishwasher truly take off in the USA and in Europe, and each new model would bring new innovations including different programs for different washes, rinse-aid compartments to ensure better drainage and salt usage to improve drying.

Finally, the latest innovation would come in the 2010s and 2020s where modern dishwashers have become part of the Smart Home, with WiFi connectivity and app controls which means that homeowners no longer even need to be in the home in order to run dishwasher programs and managed salt or liquid levels.

Why you should consider a Candy dishwasher

At Candy, we’ve created a full catalogue of dishwashers with a wide variety to fit all kinds of homes.

With both freestanding and integrated models to design any kitchen, whatever its design, these appliances are trusted, reliable and energy-efficient – perfect for keeping your drawers freshly stocked with clean utensils, dishes and glasses.

Even more features complete the picture – including WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity which links up with the hOn App. This handy app gives you access to Snap&Wash, a state-of-the-art feature where you can just take a picture of your dishwasher load, and the hOn app will analyse the picture and provide handy advice on how you can optimise your loading – all to get more efficiency from your dishwasher.

Many of our models also feature remote control through the app, so you can always be in the know about your dishwasher cycles, scheduling them for whenever you like and keeping firmly on top of your salt, rinse-aid and detergent levels.

Finally, you’ll also get access to a range of programmes with each appliance so you can run them however you like, for however long you like – keeping you in control of your time and your washing up.

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