Think back to the summers of your youth. You’re playing outside with your friends and you’ve worked up quite a thirst. Thankfully, there is a plastic pitcher in the fridge filled with Kool-Aid that you’ll proceed to pour into an equally indestructible plastic glass. Depending on the decade, both containers were probably made by Tupperware, perhaps the most popular plastic storage devices ever created.
Tupperware was invented way back in 1948 by a Dupont chemist named Earl Tupper, who devised a use for what was originally a plastic waste product. He designed a series of airtight containers that could be “burped,” a patented process of reducing the amount of air in the container. A nifty idea, to be certain, but we might not have heard of his product were it not for a woman named Brownie Wise. She was a fan of the containers and approached the company about holding a series of parties in her hometown. She would invite all her friends, relatives and neighbors, and demonstrate how well Tupperware worked as a storage container.
The parties were an immense success and soon after, housewives all over the country were holding their own Tupperware parties and earning a commission from each sale. In an era where a working woman was often frowned upon, Tupperware empowered millions of homemakers to enjoy a little economic success of their own.
Into the 80s, the popularity of Tupperware began to wane, but that’s not to say that it was a rare sight by any means. Being that the products were almost impossible to damage, they stuck around in cupboards for decades, often handed down from one generation to the next. Parents loved the stuff because cleaning up a spilled beverage is much easier when there isn’t a bunch of broken glass involved.
Storage containers, glasses and pitchers were only the tip of the Tupperware iceberg. There were salt and pepper shakers, canisters, serving dishes, egg containers, ice cube trays, measuring cups, colanders, ketchup and mustard dispensers and just about anything else imaginable that could be molded from plastic.
Tupperware is still sold today, available in 100 countries around the world, even if we don’t hear of too many Tupperware parties in the States. Here, the Tupperware era passed us by a few decades ago, but our indestructible plastic friends will not soon be forgotten.
Tupperware is still sold today, available in 100 countries around the world. Granted, the chances of being invited to a Tupperware party is pretty slim these days, but you might be surprised at how many people still serve a cold glass of Kool-Aid from one of those indestructible plastic pitchers that is likely to outlive all of us.