Earl Tupper (1907 – 1983) – Creator of Tupperware

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Earl Tupper

Earl Silas Tupper was an American businessman and inventor who is most known for inventing Tupperware, an airtight plastic container for storing food and creating Tupperware Plastics Company, a related home products company that bears his name.

Early Life

Tupper was born in Berlin, New Hampshire, on a farm. When he was three years old, his family relocated from Berlin. He started a landscaping and nursery business after graduating from Bryant College (now Bryant University) in Providence, Rhode Island until the Great Depression caused the company to close. He then went to work for DuPont, a chemical firm.

Creation of Tupperware

Tupper refined and moulded black, inflexible bits of polythene slag, a waste product of the oil refining process supplied to him by his boss at DuPont, to construct lightweight, non-breakable containers, cups, bowls, plates, and even gas masks used during World War II. Inspired by the secure seal of the paint can lid, he later invented liquid-proof, airtight lids. 

Business

Tupper created the Tupperware Plastics Company in 1938, and Tupper Plastics was first sold in hardware and department shops in 1948. Around 1946, he teamed up with Brownie Wise, who drew his attention after making a long phone conversation to his office in South Grafton, Massachusetts. She described her phenomenal success selling Tupperware through home parties.

Tupperware was taken off the shelves in retail stores in the early 1950s, thanks to a marketing plan devised by Wise and early pioneers Tom and Ann Damigella of Everett, Massachusetts. Tupperware “parties” quickly became popular in homes. This was the first instance of so-called “party plan” marketing.

The corporate headquarters were relocated to Orlando, Florida, from Massachusetts. Tupper sold The Tupperware Company to Rexall for $16 million after a falling out with Wise culminated in her resignation in 1958. He divorced his wife soon after, gave up his American citizenship to avoid taxes, and bought an island off the coast of Costa Rica.

Tupper gave his alma school, Bryant College, 428 acres of land in Smithfield, Rhode Island, in 1969. (now named Bryant University). The area was turned into a new campus for the college, which opened in 1971. Brown University purchased the site in Providence where Tupper had previously studied.

Sources

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, April 27). Earl Tupper. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:18, September 6, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Earl_Tupper&oldid=1020223615

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