Monday, October 6, 2008
Dare to Dream—Part 4
Part one, two, three!
How Dreamers Have Changed Our World:
The following people have shown us that social status, race, and lack of time are not excuses for ignoring our dreams.
Dare to Dream—Part 4
Josephine Cochrane – The Socialite Who Traded High Tea for a Hammer: “If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I’ll do it myself.”
With that determined proclamation, Josephine Cochrane, wife of an Illinois politician in the 1880s, set out to invent a major kitchen appliance—though not because Mrs. Cochrane was fed up with the humdrum chore of dirty dishes . . . she was fed up with dishwashing servants breaking her expensive china. Every party ended with more shattered dishes, which took months to replace by mail. A machine seemed like the ideal solution.
In a woodshed adjoining her home, Josephine Cochrane measured her dinnerware, then fashioned individual wire compartments for plates, saucers, and cups. The compartments fastened around the circumference of a wheel that rested in a large copper boiler. As a motor turned the wheel, hot soapy water squirted up from the bottom of the boiler and rained down on the dinnerware. The design was crude by effective, and it so impressed her circle of friends that they dubbed the invention the “Cochrane Dishwasher,” and placed orders for machines for their kitchens. They too viewed the device as a solution to the vexing problem of irresponsible help.
Word spread. Soon Josphine Cochrane was receiving orders from Illinois hotels and restaurants, where the volume of dishwashing—and breakage—was a continual and costly problem. Realizing she had hit a timely invention, Mrs. Cochrane patented her design in December 1886; her washer went on to win the highest award at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair for, as the citation read, “the best mechanical construction, durability, and adaptation to its line of work.”
(Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati, 1987, pg. 103)
Benjamin Banneker – The Boy Who Wasn’t Allowed in Most Schools Saved the Nations Capitol.
Benjamin Banneker was a freeborn African-American born in 1731. Brilliant with numbers and learning, Benjamin was sent to a Quaker school to study—one of the few schools Blacks could attend. At 24, Benjamin built a clock constructed of wood that not only told time, but also chimed on the hour. It is believed to be the first one made in the United States.
Following the Revolutionary War, Benjamin was appointed as one of the men to serve as a surveyor and mathematician to plan the nation’s capitol. Following a dispute with government officials, the chief architect ran off with the plans for the new city’s layout. Benjamin’s brilliant mind saved the day. He had memorized the complete set of plans and was able to duplicate them--and the new city of Washington, DC, was built.
Benjamin’s last dream was realized when his first almanac was published in 1792. It was the first scientific book to be published by a Black man, and it is said, one of Benjamin’s biggest fans was Thomas Jefferson.
Harriet Beecher Stowe – The Mother Who Made the Time to Follow Her Heart
For Harriet Beecher Stowe, having a writing career was not easy. In January 1836 she married Calvin E. Stowe, a professor, and supplemented their meager income by writing stories and sketches through periodicals. Through most of her married years, Harriet combined the roles of wife and mother to seven children, with that of a writer. She managed a complex family life, juggling household duties and community relationships. Harriet was also known to throw herself into periods of total creative reverie during which her "disorderliness" was sometimes the despair of her husband.
Harriet’s baby son, Charles, died in 1849 and despite the heartaches and challenges of life—or perhaps because she knew deep pain first hand—Harriet wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was published in book form in 1852.
Years later, Harriet was greeted by Abraham Lincoln with the words, “So you’re the little woman who made the book that made this Great War.” The president’s words were hardly an exaggeration. Uncle Tom’s cabin did much to rally popular support for Lincoln’s cause. With sales of 300,000 in the first year, the book’s influence was equaled by few other novels in history.
“Each of us listens to a different drummer or, more precisely, a different drumbeat, because each of us is designed to pursue a unique calling. God had specific things in mind for you and only you, and He will put His dreams in your heart to move you toward those specific things.”
(Bill & Kathy Peel, Discover Your Destiny, pg. 114)