The first electrically powered washing machine was invented by Alva J. Fisher, according to About.com. However, more primitive types of "washing machines" were in use for centuries before this invention, which was patented in 1910.
About.com states that the earliest type of washing machine ever used was the simple scrubbing board, which was invented in 1797. The first washing machine to resemble modern washing machines, with a drum that contains the dirty clothes, was invented by James King in 1851. However, until the invention of the "Thor" washing machine by Alva J. Fisher, all washing machines were powered by hand.