Tupperware Bowl and Cover

Description
Few products are more symbolic of household life in post-World War II America than Tupperware. Made of plastic, intended for service in the suburban kitchen, and with clean and modern design, Tupperware represented "tomorrow's designs with tomorrow's substances." The Museum's collections include over 100 pieces of Tupperware, dating from 1946 through 1999. This bowl and cover were made by Tupperware Corporation, Woonsocket, R.I. (bowl), and Farnumsville, Mass. (lid), 1946–1958 and donated by Glenn O. Tupper.
Beginning in the 1930s, chemist Earl S. Tupper (1907–1983) experimented with polyethylene slag, a smelly, black waste product of oil refining processes, to develop uses for it. He devised translucent and opaque colored containers that he first marketed in 1942 as "Welcome Ware," then added lids with a patented seal later in the decade.
Modeled after the lid of a paint can, the lid to a Tupperware container was to be closed with a "burp," to create a partial vacuum and make the seal tight. The product was designed to appeal to the growing number of housewives who worked in suburban kitchens with modern appliances, including large refrigerators that allowed once-a-week trips for grocery shopping at the supermarket. These women formed a market for new and effective methods of food storage. Tupperware's water-tight, airtight seal promised preservation of freshness and limited spills or spoilage.
Yet the capabilities of the new product were not obvious to consumers at first, and Tupper's containers did not sell well in retail stores. A Michigan woman named Brownie Wise thought of marketing Tupperware through the home-sales method. Wise developed the system of Tupperware parties, at which a demonstrator could show the uses and advantages of Tupperware. As Tupperware became a staple of many American kitchens, some women found job opportunities in Tupperware sales.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
bowl
date made
ca 1949
manufacturer
Tupperware
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
Measurements
average spatial: 5.3 cm x 7 cm; 2 1/16 in x 2 3/4 in
overall: 2 1/4 in x 2 3/4 in; 5.715 cm x 6.985 cm
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Grafton, Farnumsville
United States: Rhode Island, Woonsocket
ID Number
1992.0605.022
catalog number
1992.0605.022A,B
accession number
1992.0605
subject
Domestic Furnishings
Industry & Manufacturing
Food
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Glenn O. Tupper

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.