Plastic food storage is so widespread and ubiquitous that it seems laughable to think that when plastic was newly invented, people did not know what possible uses it could have: in comparison to the sturdy glass and porcelain containers in use at the time, it seemed flimsy, smelly and alien to consumers.
EARL SILAS TUPPER
However, a chemist, one Earl Silas Tupper, at the DuPont factory was intrigued by this new product and was eager to experiment with it. He arranged to purchase polyethylene slag: a smelly, hard black mess that seemed to have no useful purpose. He worked out how to purify this slag and formed it into a new, moldable product.
IT’S THE SEAL
He soon discovered how to form his new plastic into bowls and containers, but he was not satisfied with this, wanting to find an airtight way to seal in the contents. Inspiration eventually struck when he noticed that paint cans formed so tight a seal that the paint would last for a long time, up to months, without drying out and becoming useless. A little experimentation and finesse soon saw the first airtight, lightweight container ready to be used in the new refrigerators that were sweeping the country. Tupper’s new invention was designed to be stored at any angle, guaranteed to be leak-proof, even if placed on its side. The tightly fitting lid even came with its own unique selling point: the Tupperware Burp. This was the distinctive sound that the original containers made when their lids were pressed down and was taken as a sign that the container was indeed airtight.
AN ABJECT FAILURE
However, the wonderful new containers fell flat. Consumers had no idea how to use these new items, they did not trust the odd new substance from which they were made and they clung to the tried and trusted glass, earthenware and tin containers that they had always used, as had their mothers and grandmothers before them. And thus Tupperware may have languished on the shelves for a year or two before being forgotten by history, if not for the sales know-how of Brownie Wise.
Brownie Wise discovered Tupperware and became enthused with its strength and utility, seeing a great future for plastic kitchen storage products. She teamed up with Tupper, insisting that Tupperware only is advertised and sold through her soon-to-be-famous Tupperware parties. So successful were these parties that in 1951, the remaining stock of Tupperware was recalled from shop shelves and from then on, Tupperware was sold only through Wise’s Party Plans. Wise herself parted ways with Tupper (somewhat controversially) in 1958, but by then the format was a proven winner.
EARN A LIVING
Tupperware Parties were a simple premise: a woman would host a party, inviting all her female friends and relatives, using and demonstrating the fantastic sturdiness of the containers all the while enjoying tea, biscuits, and cakes. Attendees could simply enjoy the demonstrations and sociability, or they could purchase the products that appealed to them, or even become a Tupperware salesperson themselves. Selling Tupperware was a great way for a woman to make some money and gain a measure of independence, while still being at home to fulfil her expected wifely duties. Feminists are undecided about Tupperware: unsure of whether the company is patronising to women, keeping them in the kitchen and focused on domesticity, or whether the opportunity to begin and build a business from home is a good one. It is the latter view that generally predominates.
The original line of Tupperware was fairly basic, a range of bowls and boxes with lids, but this is no longer the case. Tupperware still predominantly sells through female hosts and organisers, but the whole process has been updated and improved, much like the product list!
Modern Tupperware still features the now-loved and trusted airtight storage, but the range has expanded to include food processors, mincers and juicers and even such useful items as baby care products, unusual items like microwave cookers and almost everything needed in the kitchen. Modern advances in plastics technology mean that Tupperware now looks beautiful and elegant while retaining its trademark durability. Tupperware is sold in around 100 countries around the world and, even after nearly 80 years, is still going strong, keeping food fresh and so much more.
Tupperware For Life is an independent consultant and online shop selling Tupperware UK products. I grow up with Tupperware and Tupperware parties. I used to go to parties with my mum and sit next to her and watch the lady talk. Of course, I was a little kid and was only interested in the food we have been served : ). As I grow up the Tupperware my mum bought from that times was growing up with me. They were not being thrown away. Absolutely fine and still does the job. I mean cheese container still in the fridge, 20 years! I then realised how durable and clever they are. Of course, I started looking Tupperware for my home and it was a bit difficult to find in UK. That’s how I started my online shop. I knew that there are people like me looking for durable Tupperware products. If you are one of them, browse our site and remember that we ship worldwide. Happy shopping!
HOW TO BUY
If you are keen to replace some of your nostalgic Tupperware favourites or even begin a brand-new relationship with the products – both old and new – you can browse our online Tupperware Shop, seeing the full and exciting range from the comfort of your home and, best of all, you can even book a Tupperware party with us! Check out all the options including the glorious, full-colour Tupperware catalogue which contains kitchen solutions that you don’t even know that you need! Begin your Tupperware journey today: you will be glad you did.