Josephine Cochrane believed that if you want something done right you better do it yourself. But when it came time to doing the dishes, she really didn’t want to, so she invented a machine to wash them for her.
Cochrane’s early childhood is not known. After her mother died and her sister moved out, she lived with her father, John Garis, in Ohio and Indiana. He worked as a supervisor in mills and as a hydraulic engineer, perhaps instilling in Cochrane an instinctive knack for the mechanical. She attended a private high school, but when it burned down, Garis sent his daughter off to live with her sister in Shelbyville, Illinois.
After high school graduation, Cochrane’s life took a traditional turn. At age 19 she married 27 year old William Cochran. In 1857, after a disappointing four years trying to strike it rich in the California Gold Rush, he returned home to Shelbyville and made his mark and fortune in the dry goods business along with other investment opportunities. No doubt the comfortable life he could offer his bride was one thing she was attracted to.
Source: Forgotten Newsmakers