This month we’re paying extra attention to the women who made living at home a lot easier than it used to be. It’s Women’s History Month and you should spend each day honoring the women in your life, as well as the innovative women who tackled every-day problems with gusto.
Josephine Cochrane - Socialite to Dishwasher Inventor
Josephine Cochrane was a bored socialite born in Ohio in 1939. She was used to the high life, having servants do a lot of the household chores for her. Not liking how her fine china was scrubbed, she washed them herself but found the task to be tedious and boring.
Cochrane invented the first commercially successful dishwashing machine. While she worked out this design, her husband passed away, leaving her in debt. Debt and grief were other motivators that led Cochrane to fine-tune her dishwashing machine and make it viable for consumer use. In 1886, the Cochrane Dishwasher was patented, and she eventually created her own company.
Lillian Gilbreth - “Genius in the Art of Living”
What couldn’t Lillian Gilbreth (born Moller in California) create? Not only did she have 12 (!) kids, she also had a Master’s in Literature and a doctorate in Psychology. She, along with her husband, spent time and energy in finding the “one best way” to do anything.
When her husband, Frank, died of a heart attack, Gilbreth’s work continued. She is responsible for the shelves inside refrigerators and the foot pedal-operated trash can. You know that Simplehuman trash can we all have in our homes? You can thank her invention. In 1966, Gilbreth was awarded the Hoover Medal for basically being an engineering genius that made housework more efficient and all of our lives easier.
Dorothy Rodgers - Pioneer of Toilet Cleaning
Dorothy Rodgers (often referred to as Richard Rodgers’ wife) was an inventor and businesswoman born in New York. Before she invented the Jonny Mop and patented it as a “cleaning swab for toilet bowls and the like,” she started her own business, Repairs Inc. Her Jonny Mop included a disposable scrubbing pad that could be removed without a person needing to touch the brush.
Not only was she an inventor, she was an activist that spoke out against anti-semitism and supported numerous Jewish organizations.
Ida Forbes - New Way to Heat Water
Although there’s not a lot of information on Ida Forbes, we still wanted to highlight her for a very good reason: she’s the reason we can take those long, scorching hot showers in the mornings.
In 1917, Forbes was apparently over it when it came to cold baths and invented the first electric hot water heater. This was significant because it was during a time when people were primarily heating with gas if they were heating water at all. Her invention made hot water more accessible to everyone and helped modernize homes, loosening people’s reliance on gas.Life is a lot easier these days thanks to the incredible innovations of these women, and there are plenty more we didn’t get to talk about that you can learn about. Happy Women’s History Month from all of us here at Airthereal!