Interesting Facts About Inventor Earl Silas Tupper

Interesting Facts about Inventor Earl Silas Tupper

Earl Tupper was born in 1907 in New Hampshire. His father, Ernest, liked to tinker. Their small family farm never made much money, so his mother Lulu did laundry and took in boarders to make ends meet. Earl was a tinkerer too. He liked to improve on things. He also was a dreamer. Earl dreamed of becoming a famous inventor and a millionaire as well. Most people’s dreams don’t come true. But, he did have an inventive mind and ambition on his side. Read this informative article and find out some more interesting facts about inventor Earl Silas Tupper.

His Early Years

To help his family farm prosper, Tupper started selling their produce from door-to-door when he was just 10 years old. When he was a teen, he pushed his father to expand. His parents eventually opened-up a greenhouse in in Shirley, Massachusetts. Earl Tupper was a poor student, but he managed to graduate high school in 1925. After that, he continued to work for his parents. Tupper took several correspondence courses. A course in advertising made him decide that advertising was the new key to success. He wanted his parents to build a playland for kiddies at their greenhouse, but they didn’t see the merit in his idea.

First Success

Another interesting fact about inventor Earl Silas Tupper is, still determined to become a millionaire by age 30, Tupper kept a notebook of his inventions. Some of his ideas were an improved stocking garter, pants with permanent creases, a boat that was powered by fish, and a dagger that was shaped like a comb that clipped to a person’s belt. Tupper tried to sell his inventions without luck. He learned tree surgery in 1928 and set-up his own business. It grew and was successful, but Tupper Tree Doctors went bankrupt in 1936.

His Next Success

By the time his tree business closed, Tupper had a wife of five years, Marie Whitcomb, and at least one child (the couple had a total of 5 children) to support. Times were hard. Fortunately, Tupper met Bernard Doyle that same year. He was the inventor of Viscoloid, the plastics division of DuPont in Leominster, Massachusetts. Tupper worked at DuPont for a year. He then started the Earl S. Tupper Company in 1938. Tupper was eccentric and a perfectionist. He micromanaged his business and demanded the highest quality of work from his employees. During the war, Tupper Plastics produced parts for gas masks and Navy signal lamps.

His Plastics Business

In 1946, Earl Tupper invented the “Wonderbowl”, an airtight container with a snap-on lid. (He designed every piece of Tupperware his company produced.) Although he opened-up a store in New York, sold his Tupperware in department stores, and advertised, sales were dismal. Tupper did notice that sales in Detroit, Michigan were brisk. He discovered that Brownie Wise, a single mother who sold loads of Tupperware through home parties, was behind the Detroit success. Tupper decided to use home parties as the exclusive way to sell his products. Since marketing wasn’t his strong point, he hired Wise as the boss for Tupperware Home Parties in Florida. He continued to invent and manufacture his products in Massachusetts.

After years of sales success, Brownie Wise had become somewhat of a celebrity with the press. When it was implied that she was responsible for Tupperware’s success, Tupper fired her in 1958. He sold his business to Justin Dart of Rexall Drug Company for $16 million. He got divorced and purchased an island in Central America so he didn’t have to pay taxes.

Retirement and Death

An interesting fact about inventor Earl Silas Tupper is, he continued to write down his ideas for inventions after he retired. None of these inventions panned out. Tupper died on October 5, 1983. The company that carries his name,

Tupperware Brands, had a sales force of nearly 3 million in almost 100 countries, and sales revenues of approximately $3 billion in 2011.


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