Fifties Facts          


Tupperware

 
 
by Lori Ritchie


Page after page of 1950s advertisements portrayed American women as homemakers, equipped with the latest domestic gadgets, freed from the drudgery of past generations. In reality, many women needed to earn money to support themselves and their families, yet they had limited work options.

The jobs they could get in factories, on farms, behind store counters, or as secretaries offered little flexibility for scheduling family duties, and not much hope for advancement. Many husbands identified themselves as the breadwinners and expected their wives to stay home.

Home party selling gave women the opportunity to earn money while working from their homes, serving both the prevailing social code and a practical need.

Tupperware brand products made their debut in 1946 the start of a revolutionary post-war period in history. For 50 years, Tupperware brand products have closely followed roller coaster trends from the suburban movement to the 60's feminist revolution to '90s "cocooning" continually adding a unique organizational touch to the lives and kitchens across the nation.

Just prior to its consumer introduction in 1946, inventor Earl Tupper's plastics like the materials of many manufacturers were dedicated to the war effort. The versatility and convenience of Tupper's "miracle" products helped to launch the plastics revolution of the next decade.

Tupper's first consumer plastic products the Wonderlier Bowl and Bell Tumbler offered a unique benefit that traditional food containers did not they were lighter and less likely to break than traditional glass and crockery.

With the onset of the post-war "baby boom," women dedicated themselves to caring for their growing families. The "Tupperized" kitchen was born ... a kitchen that was well organized and neat, and featured a variety of containers that replaced unsightly open packages and that kept food fresh longer.

In 1946, Tupper introduced his legendary airtight seals patterned after the inverted rim on a can of paint which prevented food from drying out, wilting or losing its flavor in the now-common refrigerator. Despite their breakthrough nature, Tupper's products didn't sell well in retail outlets, primarily because consumers needed demonstrations in order to understand how they worked.

In response, the first Tupperware Home Party was held in 1948, introducing an all-new way for Tupperware products to reach consumers. Demonstrations proved a dramatically effective way of communicating the benefits of the revolutionary seal.

By 1951, the Tupperware Home Demonstration system was working so well that all Tupperware products were taken off store shelves to be distributed in this manner. The direct sales demonstration was a welcome diversion for women, whose involvement in the community mostly revolved around their family.

Selling Tupperware products via the party sales method was an appealing career for these women, who had few career opportunities after their men returned from the war. As consumers relocated from large urban centers to homes in the suburbs, backyard barbecues became a favorite way for families and neighbors to spend leisure time.

The new Tupperware products answered needs created by this popular pastime. The Party Bowl kept macaroni and egg salads fresh and cold outdoors, while The Pie Taker provided easy transportation for homemade desserts. The Dip 'N Serve Serving Tray functioned much the same way, making it simple to get chips and dip to and from the backyard or the picnic site.

The '60s were times of social upheaval with the family undergoing social changes. As two-income families became more common, women actively pursued career opportunities and Tupperware filled the ensuing product niche with designs like the Traveling Desk, Drawer Organizers, and the Plastic Carrying Case.

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Page after page of 1950s advertisements portrayed American women as homemakers, equipped with the latest domestic gadgets, freed from the drudgery of past generations.

Tupperware brand products made their debut in 1946 the start of a revolutionary post-war period in history.

Tupperware filled the ensuing product niche with designs like the Traveling Desk, Drawer Organizers, and the Plastic Carrying Case.


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