The first patent for a dish-washing machine was issued in 1850 in the USA, but the machine was never put on the market. The version invented by American Josephine Cochran was the first practical model to use water pressure to clean dishes. It was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago and soon installed in hotels and restaurants. By 1900 a power-driven dishwasher was being touted in Australia, and General Electric was selling the Hotpoint brand by the 1940s. However, it was only from the 1970s that the dishwasher became common in Australian kitchens.
A “mechanical contrivance for housewives” was described in the Freeman’s Journal in Sydney in 1892. In the early 20th century, it seems many inventors developed their own dishwashing machines, progressing from the manual dishwasher that required the operator to pour water over the dishes and pump a lever to circulate it, to an early electric dishwasher invented in Sydney in 1924 by Dalton’s Ltd. Malley’s Ltd. applied for patent rights for their machine, invented in Grafton, in 1939.
By the early 1940s, General Electric were advertising their Hotpoint dishwasher in Australia as part of the all-electric dream kitchen. These early models were not built into the kitchen bench but were on castors and had to be wheeled up and attached to the taps and drain. The idea of a built-in dishwasher remained sufficiently novel to be worthy of comment in real-estate advertising right up to the 1980s.