Berlin New Hampshire Tupperware Inventor: Earl Silas Tupper (1907-1983)

American manufacturer Earl Silas Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, was born in New Hampshire. He was a pioneer in the polyethylene industry, and began making plastic housewares in 1938.

He graduated from Fitchburg [MA] High school in 1925, followed by a series of odd jobs. He created a tree surgery and landscaping business called “Tupper Tree Doctors” that went bankrupt in 1936 during the Great Depression.

Earl Tupper got a job in a plastic factory called Viscoloid, a DuPont plastics division [one source says Doyle Works, i.e. Bernald Doyle the inventor of Viscoloid] in Leominster MA. One  year later he started a company called Earl S. Tupper Company [later Tupper Plastics], creating plastic beads and containers for cigarettes and soap, toothbrushes, tumblers,  and combs which he sold through mail order. He also invented a material that was used to create plastic gas masks during WWII.

In 1938 he started the Earl S. Tupper Company, manufacturing consumer products and gift articles. During this time he created “Tupperware,”–plastic, airtight food storage containers, the covers modeled after the lid of a paint can.  They became popular after it was learned that home demonstrations (aka “Tupperware Parties”) were the best medium to advertise and sell the products.  Sales grossed more than $5 million in 1947.

In 1949 Earl Tupper patented the “Tupper Seal” for closing plastic containers. In 1958 Rexall Drug & Chemical Co. purchased Tupperware for $16 million. According to the book, “Martha Inc.” by Christopher M. Byron, Earl Tupper also invented “a flour sifter, dish rack, tampon case, easy-to-clip-on garter hooks, eyebrow dyeing shields, egg-peeling clamps, and color-coordinated knitting needles…”

In 1958 Earl fired Brownie Wise, his premier saleswoman, and a year later sold his company and divorced his wife. In 1967, instead of selling a 200-acre estate located in Smithfield, he donated his property, including the John Mowry homestead, to Bryant College [later becoming Bryant University]. The institution still resides on the same parcel of land.

Earl Tupper then bought an island (San Jose Island) in Central America, and in 1972 moved to Costa Rica. He died 5 October 1983 in Costa Rica.

Earl Tupper was inducted into the Plastic Hall of Fame in 1976. His patent expired in 1984. By the 1990s, 90 per cent of American homes owned at least one piece of Tupperware.  Earl Tupper’s children donated his papers to the Smithsonian Institute in 1992 (including his notebooks, diaries, correspondence, advertising material, and other records).

The 100th anniversary of his birth was in 2007.  Some folks “Popped” the top on a tupperware container to celebrate! Remember, there’s a Tupperware party somewhere in the world every two seconds.

Janice

*Additional Reading*

Earl S. Tupper Papers

-Brownie Humphrey Wise, The Original Tupperware Lady

Tupperware!

-Transcript: Tupperware Jubilee-

Facts About Tupperware

*TUPPER FAMILY GENEALOGY**

*FIRST THROUGH SIXTH GENERATIONS*
Thomas Tupper (1578-1676 England & Barnstable MA) & Anne Hodgson
Thomas Tupper (1638-1706 Barnstable MA) & Martha Mayhew
Israel Tupper (1666-1745 Barnstable MA) & Elizabeth Gifford
Samuel Tupper (1692-1772 Barnstable MA) & Hannah Fish
Silas Tupper (1727-1801 Barnstable MA) & Hannah Freeman
Silas Tupper (1768-1844 Barnstable MA) & Hannah Ladd

*SEVENTH GENERATION*

Ezra Ladd Tupper, son of Silas & Hannah (Ladd) Tupper, was b. 29 Nov 1819 in Parishville, St. Lawrence Co NY and d. March 1894 in Nicholville NY. He married 24 June 1846 in Parishville, St. Lawrence Co NY to Rhoda H. Meacham. She d. 24 Feb 1859. He m2) 26 June 1862 to Lucy Hart Morgan. She was born about 1829 in NY. In 1860 Ezra is found living in Nashua NH with his brother Freeman and his family. In the same census sons Silas and Amos are found living with Stoughton and Sarah Brown in Hopkinton, St. Lawrence Co NY
——————
U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > New York > Saint Lawrence > Hopkinton > District 205
Tupper, Ezra W M 60 Farmer NY MA NH
Tupper, Lucy W F 51 wife Keeping House NY Conn Conn
Tupper, Clara W F 6 dau at school measles NY
Tupper, Charles W M 13 son at school measles NY
Tupper, George W M 9 son measles NY
——————
Children of Ezra L. & Rhoda H. (Meacham) Tupper:
1. Maria S. Tupper, b. 10 June 1848
2. Ella E. Tupper, b. 11 Sep 1850
3. +Silas Jerry Tupper, b. 17 June 1853 in Nashua NH
4. Alice A. Tupper, b. 24 April 1856
5. Amos Alley Tupper, b. 15 Jan 1859 in Hopkinton, St. Lawrence Co NY. He m. 1872 to Emma Smith and had ch: Chester O., Emmett O, and Floyd Jefferson
Children of Ezra L. & Lucy H. (Morgan) Tupper:
6. Clara Alice Tupper, b. 5 July 1863 NY
7. Charles Henry Tupper, b. 10 Sep 1867 NY
8. George Ezra Tupper, b. 30 Sep 1870 NY

*EIGHTH GENERATION*

Silas Jerry Tupper, son of Ezra Ladd & Rhoda H. (Meacham) Tupper, b. 17 June 1853 in Nashua NH and d. 18 Apr 1928 in Parishville NY. He married 1st) Sarah Allen. She b. 1857 and d. Feb 1885. He married 2nd) 8 Feb 1886 to Bertha M. Livingston. She b. 25 July 1864 in Stockholm NY and d. July 1933.
———–
1880 United States Federal Census > New York > Saint Lawrence > Parishville > District 254
Tupper, Silas W M 27 Farmer NY NY NY
Tupper, Sarah W F 23 wife keeping house Conn NY NY
Tupper, Ernest, W M 1 son NY NY Conn
———–
U.S. Census > 1900 United States Federal Census > New York > Saint Lawrence > Norfolk > District 115
Tupper, Silas Head W M June 1853 43 married 14 yrs NY NY NY Farmer
Tupper, Bertha K. Wife W F July 1864 35 married 14 yrs 8 ch 4 living NY NY NY
Tupper, Harry A. son W M Apr 1889 11 single NY NY NY
Tupper, Elizabeth R. dau W F June 1890 9 single NY NY NY
Tupper, Robert B son W M July 1892 7 single NY NY NY
Tupper, James E. son W M July 1898 1 single NY NY NY
Tupper, Ernest L. son W M May 1879 21 single NY NY NY day laborer
Tupper, Freeman son W M June 1882 17 single NY NY NY
Wilson, Elmer, laborer W M Nov 1878 21 single NY NY NY
———–
Children of Silas J. & Sarah (Allen) Tupper:
1. +Ernest Lesie Tupper, b. 25 May 1879 in NY
2. Freeman E. Tupper, b. 7 June 1882 in NY
Children of Silas J. &  Bertha M. (Livingston) Tupper:
3. Henry Amos Tupper, b. 1 Apr 1889 in West Stockholm NY
4. Elizabeth Rhode Tupper, b. 17 June 1890
5. Robert Bruce Tupper, b. 17 July 1892
6. Ezra William Tupper, b. 25 June 1894
7. Francis Willard Tupper, b. 23 Feb 1896
8. James Edward Tupper, b. 18 July 1898
9. Fred Silas Tupper, b. 24 May 1901

*NINTH GENERATION*

Ernest Tupper, son of Silas J. & Sarah (Allen) Tupper, b. 25 May 1879 at Potsdam or Parishville, NY; He m. about 1907 to Lulu/Lula Elizabeth Clark.  She b. abt 1886 in NY or MA. Lulu took in laundry and ran a boarding house, while Earnest operated a small family farm.
————–
U.S. Census > 1910 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex > Dunstable > District 800
Tupper, Ernest L. Head M W 30 m1x 3 yrs NY NH NY Farmer, poultry
Tupper, Lulu wife F W 24 m1x 3 yrs 2 ch 2 living NY NY NY no occupation
Tupper, Earl S. son M W 8 single NH NY NY
Tupper, Violet M. dau F W 6/12 single MA NY NY
Tupper, Freeman E. brother M W 27 single NY NY NY Laborer
Kellogg, Harriet S. sister-in-law F W 9 single NY NY NY none [b abt 1901]
—————
U.S. Census > 1920 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex > Shirley > District 398
Tupper, Ernest Head W M 40 married NY NY NY  chauffeur private family
Tupper, Lulu wife F W 36 married NY VT NY
Tupper, Earle S. son M W 12 single NY NY NY
Tupper, Violet dau F W 10 single MA NY NY
Tupper, Lawrence son M W 8 single MA NY NY
Tupper, Eunice C. dau F W 7/12 single MA NY NY
Kellogg, Harriet E. sister-in-law F W 17 single NY NY NY
—————
U.S. Census > 1930 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex > Shirley Tupper, Ernest L. Head 4500 M W 51 married at age 28 NY NH NY
Tupper, Lula C. Wife F W 45 maried at age 22 MA MA MA
Tupper, Earl S. son M W 22 single NH NY MA surveyor, Treas
Tupper, Loren H. son M W 18 single MA NY MA
Tupper, Gladys M. dau F W 15 single MA NY MA
Tupper, Emliel C. dau F W 11 single MA NY MA
—————
Children of Ernest & Lulu E. (Clark) Tupper:
1. +Earl S. Tupper, b. 28 July 1907 in Berlin, Coos Co. NH
2. Violet May Tupper, b. 8 Oct 1909 in Dunstable MA; in 1930 single, rooming in Washington D.C., a stenographer in a printing company; on 22 Jan 1934 in Maine she m. Herbert E. Fox of Detroit Michigan, at that time she was residing in Boston MA. She died April 1978 in or near Limerick, York Co ME
3. Lawrence “Loren” H. Tupper, b. 29 Dec 1911 in Massachusetts (?Shirley) and died Feb 1983 in Thousand Oaks, Ventura, California. They removed to California about 1942 and lived in Tarzana California. He married and had at least children: (1) Faye Lucerne Tupper who married in Sept 1959 to Jack Wireman, son of Mrs. Jackson Wireman of Henderson KY. Her wedding record states her grandfather Francis W. Farwell was a retired police captain of Leominster MA (2) Lorna Tupper who m. — Dyatt and was honor attendant at her sister’s wedding; (3) Eileen Tupper, who was engaged in July 1968 to Gary R. Dallugge, son of Rudolph B. Dallugges a co-owner of Diane and Rudy’s Fountains and Statues in Tarzana California, she was a secretary at Hughes Aircraft Co.; (4) Eldon K. Tupper, b. 1946, resided Red Bluff California.
4. Gladys Marion Tupper, b. 1 January 1915 in Dunstable, MA
5. Emily C. “Emmie” Tupper, b. abt 1919 in MA

*TENTH GENERATION*

Earl Silas Tupper, was born in 28 July 1907 in Berlin, New Hampshire, and died 5 October  1983 in San Jose, Costa Rica. He married 20 Feb 1932 in Nashua NH to Marie Whitcomb, daughter of Ralph and Mignon (Bickford) Whitcomb.  They divorced in 1959.  She married 2nd — Smith, and died prior to 2008.
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Indiana Gazette (Indiana Pennsylvania) 26 December 1979, page 30
DEATHS — Earl Tupper
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) – Earl S. Tupper, 76 founder of Tupperware plastic household products, died Monday of a heart attack.  Tupper established his company in 1942 in Farnumsville, Mass., he marketed his products through home sale parties usually held by homemakers trying to earn extra money. He sold the business to Rexall Drug Corp. in 1958.
————————————-
Children of Earl S. & Marie (Whitcomb) Tupper:
1. Glenn O. Tupper, b. 1948, died 20 July 2010; m. Mercedes –; children: Hans and Thomas; Hedonated his father’s materials to the National Museum of American History. He was living in Curridabat, Costa Rica
2. Mark Tupper
3. Ronald “Ron” Tupper, b. abt 1933 Massachusetts
4. Myles P. Tupper, b. abt 1935 Massachusetts
5. Starr Tupper b. 4 Aug 1938; graduate of Lasell Junior College, Newton MA; m. Ronald J. Shannon; res. Florida;

[Editor’s note: article updated February 1, 2014]

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1 Response to Berlin New Hampshire Tupperware Inventor: Earl Silas Tupper (1907-1983)

  1. Pingback: New Hampshire Civic Leader, Woman’s Club Promoter, Suffragist: Nellie Fostina (Tupper) Woodward of Nashua | Cow Hampshire

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