The Insinger Family

All of the posts I created were about people who lived in either Ambler, Whitpain, or Lower Gwynedd as early as the 18th century. In this post, I'll be talking about a family who didn't live in Blue Bell during the 20th century.

The Insinger family emigrated from Switzerland to Pennsylvania in 1848. It began with Albert Insinger (1820-1882) and his family. Out of possibly 7 children, only one began a business in Philadelphia: his son Alfred Insinger.

An antique dishwasher from the Insinger Company in Philadelphia

Alfred Insinger (1850-1913) was the founder of "Insinger Dishwasher Company." He was the inventor of the dishwasher. His company was established in the 1890s, and the company is still operating today. It was unknown how he thought about inventing the dishwasher. But... his patents were found on Google Patents. In it were designs for plate and bowl holders in the dishwasher, the dishwasher itself, cup-holding racks, etc. All designed by Alfred Insinger.

His possibly only son Alfred Harris Insinger (1877-1918) took over his father's business.

It seems that Catherine played a big part in the business after her husband died in 1918. Mostly during World War II when she was working for the US Navy. She was nicknamed the "Battleship Katie" and "the Lady Engineer" because of her efforts installing huge mechanical dishwashers on 90% of the ships in the US Navy.

With her efforts, the company was rewarded the "Navy E" by the US Navy she was part of.

It was confirmed that she lived in Blue Bell, PA during her time, and retired there. Read more about how women played a huge role during World War II in Philadelphia.

Fun Fact #1: Her father was a one-time fish commissioner and helped found the Philadelphia Aquarium, the first aquarium in the United States. Philadelphia was known for having "firsts." The aquarium lasted from 1911-1962. Fairmount Water Works was used as the aquarium after it closed down for years.

Clipping from Philadelphia Inquirer- March 14, 1967 (Pg 16)

The person I initially wanted to post about was Alfred and Catherine's son Alfred, Jr. Alfred Harris Insinger (1909-1935) was a racecar driver whose life came to an end too soon during a horrific racing accident in California during the 23rd Indy 500.

Fun Fact #2: Amelia Earhart was the honorary referee at the 23rd Indy 500.

Unfortunately there wasn't a lot more information about him until I began to research his family.


"About - Insinger Machine Company." Insinger. Accessed June 15, 2020.

"Harris Insinger." Accessed June 15, 2020.

"Harris Insinger - Woodbridge Sprint Car 1931." gettyimages. Accessed June 15, 2020.

"Mrs. A.H. Insinger, Cited for War Work." Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), March 14, 1967.

#pahistory #philly #whitpain #bluebell #worldwar2 #alfredinsingersr #business #company #hollyroad #indy500 #dishwasher #racing #alfredinsingerjr #catherineinsinger #Navy #innovation #invention #googlepatents #phillyinquirer #coronavirus #COVID19

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