Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on October 8, 2021

Two Tupperware containers are waiting for me. Yesterday, I cut up potatoes, washed some turnip greens, and put them in the steamer. I remembered to cut down the heat, after it started to boil. After a half hour, I have a delicious breakfast for two days.
The Tupperware #250 Millionaire Line is a marvel of Eisenhower era plastics. This container is clear plastic, 3.5″ tall and 4″ round. The plastic is .16″ thick, and utterly indestructible. This product was bought at a Tupperware party.

“After World War II, (Earl Silas) Tupper received a block of polyethylene from DuPont, which was hoping plastics manufacturers would invent peacetime uses for the new material the company had developed during the war. Tupper tinkered with his molding machines for months. DuPont had added fillers to the polyethylene to firm it up and it was difficult to mold. Tupper asked DuPont for some pure polyethylene pellets instead. They were skeptical, but after much trial and error, Tupper produced the first of his Tupperware bowls.”

“Tupper started marketing his products as giveaways with cigarettes. Eventually they made it into department stores. He even opened a showroom on Fifth Avenue in New York. His Tupperware “wonderbowl” — with its patented burping seal — won design prizes. He advertised widely. But he wasn’t doing very well financially.”

“The person who transformed Tupperware into a marketing empire was Brownie Wise — a single mother with no formal business training. She had started selling huge quantities of Tupperware at home parties, and when Earl Tupper noticed the sales figures in 1951, he invited her to visit Massachusetts. The result: he decided to sell Tupperware exclusively through home parties and to make Wise his company’s vice president and head of all sales.”

It worked well, until it didn’t. Mr, Tupper fired Ms. Wise, and sold the company. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

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