The Life of Earl Tupper: Inventor of Durable Containers

On this day, July 28 in the year 1907, the inventor of non-breakable, heat-resistant and lightweight containers with airtight lids was born in New Hampshire, USA. His name was Earl Tupper, the founder of Tupperware Plastics Company.

Earl Tupper
Earl Tupper (Credit: tupperwarebrands.sg)

Earl Tupper was born and grew up in a farming village. As a child, he went around the neighborhood to sell farm products. He studied at Bryant University in Rhode Island. After graduation, he started a landscaping business which went bankrupt. He then found a job at DuPont Chemical Company where he learned the intricacies of plastic manufacturing. In 1938, he set up Tupperware Plastic Containers to produced plastic cups, bowls, and containers using waste product from the oil refining process. He also produced gas masks which were highly in demand during World War II. In 1946, he invented the lightweight, non-breakable plastic containers with airtight lids.

After the war, sales of Tupperware skyrocketed using an innovative marketing technique called party-plan where his products were sold through home parties. In 1958, he sold the company to Rexall Corporation for more than $16 million. He remained as chairman of the company until 1973. He then bought an island in Costa Rica and became a naturalized citizen of that country.

At present, Tupperware Corporation has operation in many countries with revenues of more than $200 million and providing jobs to as many as 250,000 who act as salespersons or dealers. It holds an average of 75,000 parties a day worldwide.

Earl’s most famous philanthropic activity was his donation of 428 acres of land for a new campus of Bryant University.

Earl died in Costa Rica on October 5, 1983 at the age of 76. He was married with five children.

References
https://www.tupperware.com/about-us
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/10/07/obituaries/earl-tupper-the-father-of-tupperware-dies.html
https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-02-13-tupperwares-earl-tupper-and-the-power-of-perseverance/#.WXj7D4SGPIU

5 comments

  1. That is so interesting, I didn’t know this. I remember when neighbors were friends, the mom’s of the households on their streets had one another’s landline phone numbers. : ) when I was a small child, my Mom would take me with her to Tupperware parties. A women would host it, by showing attendants the new and the best-selling products. whichever lady lived in the home where the get together took place would offer snacks and refreshments and some ladies brought food as well. The ladies there could place orders with the host & pay in advance (i think) and receive their orders after the host received the products, and got them delivered to those that ordered them. Many women made good money doing this, as the Tupperware company paid them for their time and number of items she happily convinced women they needed.

      • I was so young, I could have been bored most of the time and don’t remember. I recall bits and pieces about attending them, as well as the energy in the rooms. People seemed happy to be there and together. It was different times then. I must say, they are quality items for good sealing, for being plastic. : ) I prefer those colors of the 60’s – 80’s. They seem happy, cozy, kitchen colors. Thanks for bringing back the memories for me from your informative post.

  2. That was fascinating! I didn’t know Tupperware was invented that early, and it was so more durable than other brands. Great post

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