The history of Tupperware
Excerpted from The Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas) July 2, 1960
No matter how new and revolutionary a product or an idea may be, it is always related in some way to the past. The life of the American frontier may be a century removed from modern methods and habits, but one of its phases has been adapted to successful merchandising of a postwar product.
Earl Tupper, a pioneer in the polyethylene industry, began making plastic housewares in 1938. His single manufacturing and distributing company in Massachusetts was small and modest, but Tupper’s ideas were large and bold. By 1945, he had patented and put on the market an airtight seal for plastic containers.
Naturally, the inventor thought all he had to do to become rich was put his goods in retail stores where they’d sell themselves.
However, this was a case where the customer had to be shown how to use the product properly. It was a simple operation, but one which had to he demonstrated for greatest effectiveness.
Earl Tupper, who thought he had it made, was inundated with complaints about his fine product from disappointed customers. Store clerks simply did not have time to show customers how to use Tupperware.
It was at this stage that he took a leaf from the past when selling, in towns as well as rural areas, was a personal matter between itinerant salesman and the householder.
In 1946, Tupperware was first sold on the home “Tupperware Party” plan, and only four years later, had become a multi-million-dollar business.
By 1952, the home party sale of Tupperware had become so important that a 1,000-acre national sales headquarters was established in Central Florida, just south of Orlando.
As in the old days when women gathered to sew and talk, they come together now in each other’s homes to look and listen.
Even in New York City, where there are great department stores, super-supermarkets and all kinds of retail outlets, housewives play hostess to their neighbors at these “kaffee klatch” sales demonstrations.
Vintage Tupperware containers from the 1950s
Tupperware: A household word in homes everywhere!
The answer to the housewife’s demand for efficiency-economy… the woman’s demand for beauty
Stacks of retro pastel plastic bowls, cups, plates & storage containers
Lunch box buddies … Kit Kups, set of 3 different sizes 95c, and Pie Wedge 39c each … add variety to lunch. Carry salads, pudding and fruits in Kit Kups. Pie Wedge protects pie, eliminates wrapping.
Tupperware keeps refrigerators and cupboards neat! No unsightly half-used packages, torn wrappings. Store everything in neat, uniform air-tight, liquid-tight Tupperware … a glance shows the level of food in canisters.
Tupperware saves space two ways: Patented Tupper Seal lets you store bowls, canisters and tumblers upside down or sideways. Tupperware containers come in many sizes — use the size to fit the need!
An airtight case for freshness
Tupperware: The nicest thing that could happen to your kitchen (1958)
Small Wonderliers & Tupperware picnic partners from the ’50s
Vintage Tupperware containers from the ’60s
Tupperware success “Secrets” (1963)
Quality production coupled with imaginative design gives Tupperware an immense technological lead, in the plastic housewares field throughout the world. Long-established reputation for quality insures consumer satisfaction, as does personalized service made possible by Tupperware’s popular home party plan.
Every minute in the kitchen is important to a busy housewife. (1965)
Tupperware kitchen aids are designed to save time and conserve food for busy housewives. Products range from salad molds to baking aids.
Tupperware for your luau
Old-style plastic Lazy Susan and Vacu-Mixer
Lazy Susan in yellow or blue holds a variety of tidbits, nuts and mints, with place for hors d’oeuvres, spread or cheese “dip” in center. Add glamour to a simple snack. 69c.
Tupp- a-cubes are thin yet strong … with care may be reused again and again. Cubes freeze solidly in a short time … pop out with a push. Frozen trays fold in two to fit small spaces. Set complete with rack and 12 trays (makes 144 cubes) $1.98. (See vintage metal ice cube trays here.)
Whip cream in a jiffy with the Vacu-Mixer, 69c. Whips half a pint in two minutes. Wonderful for making gravy or scrambling eggs. Mixture won’t stick to sides. No waste!
Classic Ice-Tups and plastic placemats
Ice-Tups . . . “do-it-yourself” molds for popular frozen drinks on a stick. Polyethylene sticks are flexible, unbreakable, re-usable, have ring at end for easy holding. Seal acts as drip-catcher for neater eating. Set of 6 molds with seals and sticks, and rack to hold molds, $1.00.
Practical, easy to keep clean, the Tupperware Place-mats have an elegance that forms a suitable background for your lovely china, fine crystal and silverware, and add a lacy, frosty appearance to your table. Colors show through to carry out table color-scheme. Set of 4 Placemats … $2.98.
Vintage dinnerware and food storage from the 50s-60s
The breakfast table set with lovely Tupperware starts the day off right. 6-oz. Tumblers keep juices chilled and refreshing. The Cereal Bowls hold a generous serving of breakfast food, and Coffee Cups keep coffee hot longer. Dainty Doilies and attractive Placemats add the finishing touch to the table.
Bread Server as lunch box won’t dent or rust, $2.79. Sandwiches go safely in 16. Square Rounds, S2.10 for set of 4. Pie Wedge protects pie, 39c. Large Kit Kup holds salad or pudding. Keep beverages cold with ice in 16-oz. Tumbler. Carry appetizers in 6-oz Tumbler. Sauce Dish is ideal for carrying fruit.
Vintage All-in-One storage and cake taker from the sixties
The versatile All-in-One… use one in refrigerator, to store eggs, fruits and meats. Punch out holes in perforated bottom of another and it fits into sink corner, to hold and drain food scraps. Colored covers add charm to your kitchen.
Cake Taker, with seal… is 12″ in diameter. Keeps baked foods fresh and moist… protects against insects. Pie Taker, with seal, also 12″ across, is fine for storing or serving pies and other pastries.
Early all-white containers
Tupperware was the #1 brand (1965)
Tupperware is the number one brand name in plastic housewares in the United States. It is sold in 30 other countries of the free world. Whereas two years ago Tupperware operated five plants, shortly Tupperware will be manufacturing in 10 countries.
Product research and development, with emphasis on quality control, are constantly improving and expanding the line of products. The Tupperware product line is being expanded from primarily kitchen and dining items to include products used in other parts of the home.
Vintage Tupperware from the 1970s at a PTA dinner
Servalier bowl set featuring the Quick-As-A-Wink seal
Stacking canisters in ’70s colors
Stacking canister set is one of newest additions to the Tupperware product line of over 100 plastic containers for the storage, preparation and serving of food. Canister set is available in colors of avocado green or harvest gold, and features the Decorator Seal to help lock in freshness.
Measuremate, Crisp-It, Decorator Beverage Set (1972)
Tupperware products include, from upper left, bread keeper, new Measuremate dispenser for instant beverage mixes, Crisp-It lettuce keeper, a selection of food storage containers with new Econo-Saver in foreground, and Decorator Beverage Set with pitcher and matching tumblers.
Fix-N-Mix bowl with Tablemates food storage containers (1972)
Large Fix-N-Mix bowl with Tablemates salt and pepper shakers, new one-quart beverage container alongside cereal storer.
Old Tupperware plastic kitchenware from 1972
Tupperware containers lock in all kinds of freshness with the famous Tupperware Seal. The Tupperware set shown here is a perfect way to fix a salad, store a salad, serve a salad. You have everything you need to help keep garden freshness in tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers, from the produce market to the dinner table.
You can see and buy Tupperware at a Tupperware Party. If you have a Tupperware Party in your home before July 1, 1972, you may qualify to earn a beautifully styled West Bend 5-quart Country Kettle. Call a Tupperware distributor soon and you’ll be given full details.
Vintage Ice Tups popsicle mold containers
Food freshness (1974)
Products available directly in the home include Tupperware food preparation, storage and serving containers.
Below, clockwise from upper left, are tomatoes kept fresh in Tupperware Wonderlier bowl; new Decorator Salad Set with twin forks and individual matching bowls; one-quart beverage container with its new two-quart companion; a variety of canisters; and twin red and yellow Mustard and Catsup Set.
Reusable plasticware (1974)
By being almost infinitely reusable, Tupperware products conserve raw materials used in their manufacture, and they help consumers stretch food dollars and reduce the number of shopping trips.
Meet the ladies with the fresh ideas.
They’re your Tupperware Ladies with some great ideas for locking in freshness.
Alicia Richards — with a fresh idea for spicing: “Here’s a colorful way to keep your favorite spices and herbs really fresh. It’s the Tupperware Spice Tower — a set of 4 stackable and scalable containers. With shaker tops removed, the extra-wide mouths make spooning out measurements a breeze. Each set conies with easy-to-apply labels for 25 different seasonings!”
Tina Tickner — with a fresh idea for grating: “Handy Grater is the right name for this new idea from Tupperware. It grates everything from cheese and carrots to eggs and citrus peels. Choose the coarse or fine side and grate directly into the oval bowl. Then just seal and store. Whatever you grate will stay fresher longer. Holds up to two cups. So much easier to clean than conventional graters, too.”
Mary Lowe — with a fresh idea for serving: “Talk about versatility! You can use this Divided Serving Dish to serve two foods with the divider in–or one food with it out. The removable strainer drains excess liquid to the bottom where it’ll help keep hot foods hot. An ideal way to serve chilled foods, too!”
A collection of vintage Rexall products, prominently featuring the company’s plastic containers
A tapered Snackeeper canister
…capable of holding four quarts of dry snacks or staples, was introduced in colors of apple green, daffodil and tangerine.
Deli-Keepers & Pick-a-Deli containers
Tupperware introduced an average of one new product every 60 days throughout its worldwide operations. Pictured here are the Deli-Keeper set for storing lunch meats and cheeses, and the Pick-a-Deli container with an easy-lift center for retrieving pickles.
A four-piece, 10-ounce Servalier set, ideal for individual-sized serving portions or the storing of leftovers, was introduced to complement the already existing 20-ounce Servalier set and Servalier bowl set. Each features the Instant Seal.
Tupperware products are part of your day
Bowls by Tupperware
Prepare, store and serve in these practical Tupperware bowls. Colorful and convenient Servalier Bowls have a finely textured surface and feature Instant Seals with an attractive sunburst design.
B5 10-oz. Servalier Set: One each lime, burnt ortange and brown. Store and serve in these 10 oz. (11/4 cups) bowls. Set of four. $7.29
B10 20-oz. Servalier Set: One One each burnt orange, lemon and lime. Each bowl has a 20 oz. (21/2 cups) capacity. Ideal for storage of mealtime surplus. Set of three. $6.49
B20 Servalier Bowl Set: Three frequently needed sizes for storing and serving. Lime bowl-3/4 qt. (3 cups); burnt orange bowl —1 qt. (4 cups); lemon bowl-2 qts. (8 cups). Attractive design lets you store and serve in the same container. Set of three. $12.79
Ice-cooled serving tray with dip holder
Vintage Tupperware containers from the ’80s, in trendy retro colors like poppy, burnt orange & brown
Thermo-Serv’s new St. Tropez high-fashion, high-quality plastic tableware line includes mugs, a beverage server, a compartmentalized salad server; a cheese server with dome; a serving tray, an hors d’oeuvre server, and an insulated bucket for ice or other cold foods. Other items not shown include an ice chest, glasses, serving tongs and salad bowls.
How to pack a punch
Prepare, serve and store beverages in this one-gallon Tupperware Pitcher. Push-Button Seal adjusts for storing or pouring. Burnt orange or brown.
How to box a lunch
The Pak-N-Carry lunch box keeps lunch fresh in four sealed containers packed inside. Lets you prepare ahead, refrigerate overnight. Poppy or brown.
Vintage Tupperware: How to save a bunch
Keep vegetables crisp in an Easy Crisp container from Tupperware. Seals out drying air. Special grid stores vegetables above moisture. Come to a Tupperware Party for fresh ideas on storing and serving food.
How to say hello to a good buy
Attend a Tupperware Party between December 7 and January 16, and you can save $2.00 on this new Classic Sheer Small Mix-N-Stor pitcher. One-quart, see-through pitcher with snap-cap pouring spout has clearly marked standard measures on one side, metric measures on the other.
A plastic picnic set for Tupperware party hostesses
How to get a present on our birthday: An exclusive gift for Tupperware hostesses, assembled especially in honor of our birthday. Set includes all the Tupperware containers you need for a picnic, plus a fully-insulated cooler.
36-ounce Tupperware beverage containers for only 78 cents
Vintage Tupperware Butter-Up – butters and salts corn on the cob neatly and evenly
The wide range of products (1981)
The introduction of products nearly every 60 days has always played an important part in Tupperware’s growth, as have special promotions designed to support the dealer, manager and distributor organization in its sales efforts.
This organization has been responsible for a great part of Tupperware’s success through understanding its customers, the local traditions which govern the marketplace and the effect of the economy on family budgets.
The company sells a wide range of food preparation, storage and serving containers, hostess accessories, toys, and planting systems, Tupperware products are guaranteed against chipping, breaking or peeling under normal use. Although Tupperware continuously offers new items, three of its 20 best-selling products have been part of the line since 1958.
Tupperware Ultra 21 Ovenware from 1985
Ultra 21 Ovenware, a unique, high-quality plastic line, was introduced in the spring. Backed by heavy advertising and promotion, Ultra 21 Ovenware — which is equally at home in microwave ovens, conventional ovens at temperatures of 500 degrees, dishwashers, freezers and on dining tables as serving pieces — spurred consumer interest in Tupperware and lured many former consumers back to Tupperware parties.
According to an independent marketing research firm, the Ultra 21 line captured approximately 25 percent of all nonmetal ovenware sales in the June-through-December period.