Tupperware Inventor Born (2023)

July 28, 1907

Tupperware Inventor Born

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From Know How! The Guide to Making Money with Tupperware...

Prospective Hostesses Are Everywhere!

Betty held up her fingers and started to tick off the wonderful prospects for Tupperware parties: "Every homemaker; working girl, single or married; mixed groups, young married couples... I could go on... clubs, church organizations, sports and fraternal groups..."

Ann broke in, "My goodness! You mean all those have Tupperware parties?"

"Certainly," laughed Betty. "Everyone needs and wants Tupperware. And don't forget your beauty operator, your milk man, your grocer, butcher, service station attendant, your doctor... in other words, everybody you see every day."

Ann added, "What about the P.T.A.? I know some people there."

"Exactly! You're getting the idea. In other words, wherever you go, you will meet people who are prospects for Tupperware parties."

Ann asked, "Well, just exactly how do I get people interested in Tupperware or having parties? How do I interest people who don't know about Tupperware?"

"I always carry a 2-oz. Midget with a seal on it or a Sauce Dish and seal and a catalog with me. A person can't see Tupperware without being interested in it. Oh, and here's another one I didn't mention, trailer parks are among the best spots for Tupperware parties."

(Video) Tupperware Retrospective - Decades TV Network

Know How! The Guide to Making Money with Tupperware... (Fifth Edition. Tupperware Home Parties, Inc., 1958).



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On this day in 1907, Earl Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, was born. Raised in central Massachusetts, birthplace of the plastics industry, he was a compulsive tinkerer, inventing, among hundreds of other things, a fish-powered boat. When none of his ventures succeeded, he took a job in a Leominster plastics factory and in 1938 founded his own company. After much trial and error, he came up with the "wonderbowl," which had an airtight "burping" seal. Sales did not take off until a woman named Brownie Wise persuaded him that Tupperware should be sold where it could be demonstrated — at home parties. Thanks to the quality of the product and Brownie Wise's success at mobilizing a sales force of "Tupperware Ladies," the Massachusetts-based company spawned a global enterprise.

(Video) Tupperware: The Company That Became an MLM

The popular stereotype of a "Tupperware Lady" is a white, middle-class suburban housewife. In fact, many were first- and second-generation immigrants living in urban neighborhoods.

In 1924 Earl Silas Tupper sat in a classroom in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and dreamed of making millions. "What a time we would have if we had plenty of money," he wrote in a school essay. Tupper was a poor student; in fact, he barely graduated from high school. However, the product he invented, and the woman who created a way to market it, would make him a very rich man.

World War II spurred innovation in the plastics industry, much of it concentrated in the central Massachusetts towns where Earl Tupper's family moved in 1908. After the war, manufacturers were looking to convert their operations to meet peacetime needs. In 1945 Tupper obtained some polyethylene, a plastic Du Pont had developed during the war. He bought molding machines and began to experiment. Many of his first designs were failures, but in 1946 he finally came up with a winner — the "wonderbowl," which had an airtight seal modeled on a paint can.

In 1949 he finally received a patent for the "burping seal." He opened a showroom in New York and began selling Tupperware in department stores. Although the product won design awards, it was slow to catch on with consumers except in Detroit and a few other cities, where sales were booming. He soon learned that Tupperware's popularity in the Motor City was largely due to the efforts of a creative and ambitious saleswoman named Brownie Wise.

Many of his first designs were failures, but in 1946 he finally came up with a winner — the "wonderbowl," which had an airtight seal modeled on a paint can.

Brownie Wise was a divorced woman in her 30s with a son to support. She often had several jobs at once and supplemented her income as a saleswoman for Stanley Home Products, arguably the first company in the country to use "home parties" for direct selling. Bright, charming, and driven, Wise had an intuitive grasp of how to sell a product like Tupperware, and she knew how to recruit and motivate other women.

Soon after Tupperware went on the market, Wise and Gary McDonald, another Stanley salesman, realized that home parties were the perfect vehicle for selling the plastic kitchenware. One day in 1951, Wise called the company to complain about a late order and insisted on speaking to Earl Tupper himself. She told him that he should pull Tupperware out of retail stores and market the product exclusively through home parties.

Intrigued, he invited her to come to his office in Farnumsville, near Leominster, and hired her on the spot. He split the company into two divisions; he ran the manufacturing side, which remained in New England. Wise took command of the sales division, Tupperware Home Parties. She had moved to Florida and now built a headquarters near her home there.

(Video) History of Tupperware | Illuminating Moments in American History

Selling Tupperware appealed especially to women who had family responsibilities, limited resources, and the aspiration to achieve the American dream.

Earl Tupper was a gifted engineer but a difficult man with no interest in or knack for public relations. Brownie Wise quickly became the face of the company. It was a face that would soon have thousands of followers, who would sell millions of dollars worth of Tupperware.

The Tupperware sales force was made up almost entirely of married women, many of whom had entered the work force during the war and wanted to maintain some of the independence and earning power they had gained. Giving Tupperware parties offered a woman the chance to work, and in many cases, earn good money, on a schedule she could control and in a setting that allowed her to maintain her role as homemaker.

Thousands of women signed on to be "Tupperware Ladies," as the sales representatives were called; they sold as much as Tupper's factories could produce. Selling Tupperware appealed especially to women who had family responsibilities, limited resources, and the aspiration to achieve the American dream. The popular stereotype of a "Tupperware Lady" is a white, middle-class suburban housewife. In fact, many were first- and second-generation immigrants living in urban neighborhoods. Many others lived in rural communities. And not all were white: some were African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic.

"Brownie gave women the chance to be part of an organization that "pulled out the stops and did everything first class."

Brownie Wise inspired her managers and sellers to work hard and believe in themselves. According to Laurie Kahn-Leavitt, who wrote, produced, and directed the prize-winning documentary "Tupperware!,"Brownie gave women the chance to be part of an organization that "pulled out the stops and did everything first class." At extravagant annual jubilees, she was generous with prizes and praise. She recognized, indeed celebrated, women who got very little of either elsewhere in their lives, and they loved her for it.

As the Tupperware Company grew, Brownie Wise appeared on talk shows, was quoted by newspapers, and was the first woman ever featured on the cover of Business Week. Back in Massachusetts, annual sales were projected to reach $100,000,000, but Earl Tupper was growing resentful of all the attention and credit Wise was receiving. On January 28, 1958, he fired her. She had been a well-paid employee, but always just an employee. When he sold Tupperware later that year for $16,000,000, she got nothing. After her dismissal, Wise started a company to sell cosmetics at house parties. It failed almost immediately, and she lived out the rest of her life in obscurity.

Today, almost 60 years since Tupperware was first introduced to American consumers, the company does business in over 100 countries. It sells plastic Bento Boxes in Japan and Marsala Keepers in India. One can buy the original "burping bowl" at a Tupperware party anywhere in the world, or online, at any time of day or night.

If You Go

Leominster, Massachusetts, where Tupper based his early operations, was for many years a hub of plastics manufacturing.

(Video) Tupperware party time! - Life in America

The current site of the Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club served as a site for Tupperware manufacturing between the late 1950s and 1980s. The site included a 12-acre park for Tupperware employees and their families.


This Mass Moment occurred in the Central region of Massachusetts.

Tupperware Inventor Born (4)

Tupperware Inventor Born (5)


Company website

Film website

Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America, by Alison Clarke (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999).

"Tupperware!" A film by Laurie Kahn Leavitt (Filmmakers Collaborative/Blueberry Hill Productions & The American Experience/WGBH, 2004).

American Plastic: A Cultural History, by Jeffrey Meikle (Rutgers University Press, 1997).





(Video) Tupperware: Put a lid on it

Women's History


Is Earl Tupper still alive? ›

How did Earl Tupper invent Tupperware? ›

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.

What led to the invention of Tupperware? ›

Chemist Earl Tupper had a spark of inspiration while creating molds at a plastics factory shortly after the Great Depression. If he could design an airtight seal for plastic storage containers, like those on a paint can, he could help war-weary families save money on costly food waste.

Who was responsible for the success of Tupperware? ›

Brownie Mae Humphrey (May 25, 1913 – September 24, 1992) professionally Brownie Wise, was a pioneering American saleswoman largely responsible for the success of the home products company Tupperware, through her development of the "party plan" system of marketing.

Who owns Tupperware now? ›

Tupperware develops, manufactures, and internationally distributes its products as a wholly owned subsidiary of its parent company Tupperware Brands; as of 2007, it was sold by means of approximately 1.9 million direct salespeople on contract.
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Do Tupperware parties still exist? ›

Hosting a big party is easy when you can do it either online or in person. The bigger the party, the bigger the rewards and discounts!

What made Tupperware so special in 1954? ›

In the 1950s, plastic became indispensable--especially in products for the home. Foremost were Tupperware's "Wonderlier" bowls--lightweight, flexible, and unbreakable, with a patented air-tight seal to keep foods fresher longer.

Is Tupperware guaranteed for life? ›

Tupperware warrants that Tupperware® brand products that are subject to the “Limited Lifetime Warranty” will not chip, crack, break or peel (as such terms are defined in the “What's Covered” section of this policy), when used under normal, non-commercial use, for the lifetime of the product.

Who is Tupperware named after? ›

From Tupper +‎ -ware. Named after Earl Tupper, who invented the product in 1942 and founded the company that produced it. Thus it is a genericised trademark.

What was Tupperware originally called? ›

In 1947, when Earl Tupper designed his first line of polyethylene kitchenware, which he dubbed Tupperware, TIME magazine raved about the plastic that could "withstand almost anything," and House Beautiful marveled at the simplistic, yet chic, design [source: Kealing].

What is Tupperware actually called? ›

Tupperware Brands Corporation, formerly Tupperware Corporation, is an American multinational company that produces home product lines that include kitchen gadgets, preparation, storage containers, and serving products for the kitchen and home.

What makes Tupperware special? ›

So, what makes Tupperware special? It's the plastic that is manufactured at Tupperware. Not All Plastic Is Same: Plastic could be of good quality too. Tupperware products are manufactured via world class manufacturing processes using only 100% Virgin Plastic which gives a superior quality to the final product.

Who was the woman behind Tupperware? ›

She introduced the now popular household item, Tupperware, to the market. A pioneering businesswoman when there were not many women in business, her career serves as an inspiration for generations of women. Brownie Mae Humphrey was born in Buford, Georgia on May 25, 1913.

Who sells the most Tupperware? ›

Aunt Barbara, Dee W. Ieye and Kay Sedia are recognized for being the top three in personal sales in the U.S. and Canada at the annual West Coast Tupperware Jubilee in Anaheim.

What is the oldest Tupperware product? ›

Tupper's first product, the Wonderbowl, introduced the iconic "burp seal."

Why is Target selling Tupperware? ›

It's part of Tupperware's bigger strategy to reinvent the brand, with plans to grow the business through multiple retail channels and get its products in front of younger consumers who never experienced the era of Tupperware parties.

Is Target now selling Tupperware? ›

1. Target sells a small, exclusive collection of Tupperware starting at $7.99. On Tupperware.com, you'll find more than 300 different food storage products, but don't expect to walk into Target and find that same selection.

Is Tupperware made in China? ›

Tupperware has manufacturing plants in Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, South Africa and the United States, and leases manufacturing and distribution facilities in China, India and Venezuela.

Should you throw away old Tupperware? ›

Recycle with the lid attached. Most recycling programs also accept #5 plastics. As for other types of plastic, check with your municipality. If you're not sure, it's better to be safe and dispose of your Tupperware and other plastic containers in the garbage.

Why is Tupperware struggling? ›

Low growth expectations and poor financial performance have led to lower valuation multiples placed on Tupperware's stock.

Is Tupperware making a comeback? ›

Tupperware is suddenly an 'it brand' again amid pandemic. Restaurant pain has turned into Tupperware's gain with millions of people in a pandemic opening cookbooks again and looking for solutions to leftovers.

Is original Tupperware worth anything? ›

Vintage Tupperware pricing will fluctuate depending on the demand from buyers. In general, these values can give you an idea: Full sets in difficult-to-find colors can sell for hundreds of dollars. Complete line sets can sell between about $50 to $75.

How much is original Tupperware worth? ›

Originally, many Tupperware pieces sold for about $2. However, according to the popular antiquing site Dusty Old Thing, select single items in great condition may sell for up to $60.

How old is vintage Tupperware? ›

Tupperware was conceived in 1946 by the company's founder Earl Tupper. Tupper's plastic containers for household use were strong while being light in weight, but they didn't sell as well in stores without demonstrations to illustrate all their useful attributes to the homemaker.

Is 50 year old Tupperware safe? ›

BPA, as well as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury, are dangerous substances for humans, so if you've been using vintage Tupperware, the best thing you can do is not use them anymore. Plastic not only harms the environment but has also directly harmed humans for years.

How often should you throw away Tupperware? ›

There's no standard rule of thumb about when it's time to throw out your plastic containers. How long your containers last depends on how well you care for them, and the quality of plastic they're made of. You'll know it's time to toss your containers if they become warped or cracked.

How do I get my broken Tupperware replaced? ›

Contact your Tupperware Independent Representative or call Customer Care at 1-800-887-7379. To expedite your call, please locate the mold number on the product prior to contacting. Every Tupperware® brand product has a two-part number stamped into it. The first part (before the dash) is the mold number.

Why do you burp Tupperware? ›

These containers have a small raised button in the center of the lid. The proper way to put the lid on an Instant Seal container it to place the lid on the container and press down on the button with your thumb. The excess air is expelled from the container, making the Tupperware burping sound.

Can you microwave Tupperware? ›

Is Tupperware microwave safe? Manufacturers of Tupperware containers label their products BPA-free and microwave-safe. It means that Tupperware is microwave safe and can be microwaved without worries. But you should avoid overheating or lengthy reheating your food in a microwave.

What is original Tupperware made of? ›

Most Tupperware products are made of LDPE or PP, and as such are considered safe for repeated use storing food items and cycling through the dishwasher.

Is there fake Tupperware? ›

If they do not have the Trademark logo and the code, it is a fake, no matter how good the imitation is. Therefore, this imitation does not deserve the Tupperware lifetime warranty.

Is Tupperware virgin plastic? ›

All of their products are crafted from high-grade non-toxic plastic that ensures the much-needed safety and durability for daily use. Made from 100 percent virgin food-grade plastic, the package contains four high-quality bottles that are spill resistant to assure you of a good experience.

Is Tupperware a pyramid? ›

Therefore, it may be technically an MLM, but most people consider it as a Pyramid Scheme; with distributors doing or trying to make a business with you, has anyone become so successful after several years? We'll leave you to be the judge of that.

What was a Tupperware party? ›

A Tupperware® party is a marketing event hosted in someone's home. The host receives certain incentives for hosting the event, and his or her guests have an opportunity to see Tupperware® products demonstrated, and to order specific products.

How did Tupperware parties start? ›

Tupperware was developed by an American, Earl Tupper, in the mid 1940s. Tupperware Parties' in the 50s and 60s were a way of marketing the product directly to women. Tupperware looked nothing like the plasticware that was in most women's kitchens.

Who invented Tupperware parties? ›

In late 1951, inventor Earl Tupper bought a thousand acres of cow pasture and swamp in Kissimmee, just outside the quiet farm town of Orlando, Florida. There, he and his new vice president and general manager, Brownie Wise, broke ground for the Tupperware Home Parties Inc.

How much do Tupperware sellers make? ›

The average salary for Consultant at Tupperware in the United States is $21.66 per hour, which is 14% below the national average.

Do Tupperware reps make money? ›

Since Tupperware isn't sold in stores, the company relies on sales consultants to represent their products. As a Tupperware sales consultant, you'll earn a percentage of the sales you make.

Who is the top Tupperware sellers drag queen? ›

Drag artist Dixie Longate has been selling Tupperware for more than 10 years – most recently through a stage show that doubles as a party – apparently becoming one of the biggest sellers in the US.

What year did Tupperware stop using BPA? ›

As of March 2010, items sold by Tupperware US & CA are BPA free. Join us in our mission to Do Good for people and the planet through thoughtful and conscientious product innovation and design practices that help to better lives and reduce waste.

What is the lifespan of Tupperware? ›

Your tupperware plastic containers are old if you have had them since 2010. Tupperware has a lifespan of 20 years, depending on quality.

What do the numbers on the bottom of Tupperware mean? ›

Each plastic recycling number is code for the specific plastic that your containers are made of. Most Tupperware is imprinted with the number five, representing polypropylene, generally a food safe plastic.

Did Earl Tupper have children? ›

Later he shifted to the mail-order business, dealing in toothbrushes, combs and other small items and raised the money to start a small factory in Massachusetts in 1937. Five years later he began making Tupperware. He is survived by a sister and five children, three of whom live in Costa Rica, and 14 grandchildren.

What island did Earl Tupper buy? ›

"Dad was looking for land to build on and farm," explains his son Mark. "But in the Bahamas, the island's water supply had to come from rain, so in the end he bought San Jose Island off Panama.” Mark arrived after he finished college in Europe and his job was to research the island.

Who are the presidents of Tupperware? ›

Rick Goings serves as the CEO / President of Tupperware Brands. Mayee Leung serves as the Senior Vice President, Marketing of Tupperware Brands.

Why is it called Tupperware? ›

Named after Earl Tupper, who invented the product in 1942 and founded the company that produced it. Thus it is a genericised trademark.

What is the meaning of the word Tupper? ›

Meaning:ram, male sheep.

When was Tupperware first sold? ›

When it was first released in 1946, the bowl—Tupperware's very first product—was widely praised by the burgeoning plastic industry, says Nickles, which wanted quality plastic products in consumer hands.

Is Tupperware an Indian company? ›

Tupperware Brands Corporation, formerly Tupperware Corporation, is an American multinational company that produces home product lines that include kitchen gadgets, preparation, storage containers, and serving products for the kitchen and home.

Why did Earl go to Samoa? ›

He lived in Samoa for over a year after his mother found out about his early music, most particularly his debut mixtape Earl, as well as his drug habits, sending him to Coral Reef Academy, a reform boarding school.

Which country company is Tupperware? ›

The brand made its debut about 75 years ago, it is still revolutionising lives across the world. Brownie Wise, a remarkable American salesperson, was a pioneer of this revolution.

Where are Tupperware products made? ›

Tupperware has manufacturing plants in Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, South Africa and the United States, and leases manufacturing and distribution facilities in China, India and Venezuela.

What is Tupperware net worth? ›

How much a company is worth is typically represented by its market capitalization, or the current stock price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. Tupperware Brands net worth as of March 10, 2023 is $0.13B.

Who is the CEO of Tupperware? ›

Miguel Fernandez serves as Tupperware Brands Corporation Chief Executive Officer.

Does the President have their own kitchen? ›

Though the White House comes with its own chef—which comes with the residence—presidents and their families must pay for their own food. First Lady Michelle Obama confirmed this in a 2018 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Here are 8 perks U.S. presidents get to keep after leaving office.

What is a fun fact about Tupperware? ›

Tupperware was invented by Earl Tupper in 1938.

Always the closet inventor, he bought a few of their molding machines and began tinkering at home. The first true commericial iteration of Tupperware came about after WWII, when DuPont asked him to explore peacetime uses for their plastic.


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