The Story of Brownie Wise, the Ingenious Marketer Behind the Tupperware Party


Tupperware party with Brownie Wise in Sarasota, Florida, 1958

From by Kat Eschner:

Today, Earl Tupper and Brownie Wise are remembered for their acrimonious split, but neither of the two entrepreneurs of 1950s America would have been able to create Tupperware alone.

Together, the inventor and saleswoman made Tupperware a household name—and there’s nowhere their shared legacy is more visible than the Wonder Bowl.

The Wonder Bowl has always been “the linchpin of Tupperware,” says Smithsonian curator Shelley Nickles, who frequently works with the National Museum of American History’s extensive Tupperware collection, which includes more than 100 pieces made between 1946 and 1999. The bowl was translucent like milk glass but more durable than any container before it. It was air- and water-tight as well, thanks to Tupper’s double sealed lid, patented in 1947, but could be sealed and unsealed just by pressing. As Tupperware dealers would tout to their clients a few years later, it was perfect for the fridge or for outside entertaining.

In the years following World War II, plastics inventor Tupper designed novel products intended—unlike most plastics to date—for the consumer market. Before this, plastic goods were manufactured for use in the war as everything from insulation for wiring to truck parts, but not for home use.

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Categories: History of Science, Women's History

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