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The Social Construction of Technology: Bicycles, Bakelite, Bulbs, and the Dishwasher

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

Part of my childhood was spent in a tiny town on a Navajo reservation, where we lived in a trailer.  We were one of the lucky few of the residents to have running water.  My sisters and I spent each night washing dishes by hand, a ritual we did not enjoy.

So imagine my delight, not surprise, to learn that a woman invented the dishwasher!

I am currently using the social construction of technology (SCOT) theory to examine the dishwasher for my final paper in a technology and culture seminar.  So far, I have learned that the dish-washing machine was patented in 1886 by Josephine Cochran in Illinois.

What I have been surprised by is the lack of publicity she received in newspapers and magazines.  In searching archival databases, I’ve found no mention of her specifically, and only two allusions to her in articles that focus on other versions of…

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