THE FIRST SELLING POINT of Earl T upper’s plastic creations wasn’t their “burp”-able lids. It was their tightness and near-break ability. His airtight seals—inspired by paint cans—became available in 1946 and were perfect for the refrigerators that had become a staple in nearly every home.
The party—the Tupperware party, that is—started two years later when the product wasn’t a big store seller. It needed hands-on demonstration. The timing was great, with the growth of the suburbs and an exponential rise in backyard barbecues.
The plastic containers started making serious cash, and soon it was obvious that retail outlets weren’t necessary. By 1992, Tupperware was distributed almost entirely by a home sales team, nearly half of whom held other full-time jobs. Say, are you free next weekend?