Save That Jel-Ring Mold! Why Tupperware May Be Going Away Forever
If you peered into the home of any 1950s suburban housewife in the evening, you might see a gathering of women, laughing, gossiping and passing around plastic kitchenware. You’d spot tables filled with cookies and other munchies, glasses filled with bubbles, and most importantly, colorful Tupperware everywhere — and we mean everywhere.
Tupperware was a very important part of the kitchen and the social scene in the ’50s and onward. One woman would host a party and then the next month another, and another and another. Parties and products spread like wildfire, and regardless if you made jello molds or not, you can bet the majority of ladies bought one just because.
Tupperware can also be credited for providing ample opportunities for women to enter the workforce and earn significant paychecks (top sellers were rewarded with company cars, trips and bonus money!) Women finally had a way to become a major breadwinner while managing their children and home, outside of the constrains of traditional jobs, and it was seemingly acceptable to society back then.
A Bit on the History of Tupperware
So who was responsible for inventing such a beloved brand? That would be Earl Tupper, he debuted the first line of polyethylene kitchenware in 1946 with a simple design and a plastic that “could withstand almost anything.” Tupper stopped selling his product in stores altogether in 1951 due to lack of sales, and exclusively sold it through hostess parties. Previously people used shower caps to cover dishes of leftovers so Tupperware truly changed the game with airtight lids and unbreakable plastic bowls. Tupper made a woman named Brownie Wise the general sales manager of the new Tupperware business model and she became Business Week magazine’s very first cover woman. While Wise wasn’t the first to create direct sales parties, she truly perfected it and made it something that all women could see themselves doing when they weren’t taking care of the home and the children.
To hype the new business model Tupperware developed hostess gifts, incentives and celebrations, which essentially started the craze of at-home sales parties. Unfortunately, by 1958, Tupper and Wise both left the company. Wise was fired by an all-male board for her management style and Tupper sold the company to Rexall Drug company for $16 million and moved away from it all eventually landing in Costa Rica. Despite this, the company grew in popularity over the next few decades.
In the 2020s, however, the sizzle and sell of the brand was fading. Tupperware lost its edge due to more and more kitchen gadgets and more aesthetically pleasing dishware being offered. The brand did make a hot resurgence thanks to the popular Amazon Prime series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that saw Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) pitching the ware in a Season 4 episode. It even had a special 5 piece bowl release that sold out instantly but is back again in time for the final season of the show which drops on Amazon Prime April 15. Clearly, everyone appreciates that Wonderlier Bowl!
Tupperware Sees Financial Troubles
Crushing to fans, however, is the thought that Tupperware may soon be just a memory for nostalgia lovers. The company recently announcing it may be going out of business. In a USA Today article, it was reported that there was “substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” adding that Tupperware engaged with financial advisors to find financing to keep the company in business.
“Concerns for Tupperware came after the New York Stock Exchange warned the company’s stock could be de-listed because it didn’t file an annual report for 2022. While Tupperware said it plans to file a report within the next 30 days, it added ‘there can be no assurance’ it will be filed at such time,” USA Today reported.
Miguel Fernandez, president and CEO of Tupperware Brands explained, “Tupperware has embarked on a journey to turn around our operations and today marks a critical step in addressing our capital and liquidity position. The company is doing everything in its power to mitigate the impacts of recent events, and we are taking immediate action to seek additional financing and address our financial position.”
Clearly, for Tupperware lovers, this is bad news. While old finds are still available at resale and vintage stores all across the country, if you are interested in helping support the brand and the newer models (including the classics) you can shop their catalog here.
For now, let’s take a look at some of the most rare and valuable Tupperware products that you may still own or want to be on the lookout for.
What Kid Didn’t Grow Up With the Bell Tumbler as Their Sippy Cup?
This was one of the first products released when the company began in the late ’40s. The tumblers have lids with seals so they can’t leak or spill, which made them perfect for children.
As Tupperware began gaining popularity, it started marketing toward those with more cash. These higher-end containers are now vintage classics and the line contains tumblers, dishes, bowls, condiment shakers and much more. Thrill over the magnificent color palette!
OK, who wouldn’t love one of these today? While the Bell Tumblers may be one of the most iconic Tupperware products, these slendor, pastel pretties would still make for a fine summer cocktail caddy for the gals. Just look at the stationary holders that would prevent your drinks from spilling! Introduced in 1961, the caddy provided a way to carry tumblers and other items and became popular for picnics and other events.
Remember when jello dishes were an essential menu item for every get together? As Jello mold meals and desserts became popular, of course, Tupperware got in on the action. The company created Jel-Ring Molds, perfect for creating that very specific shape. Are these molds even still available?
Servalier and Wonderlier Lines
Both sets of bowls are classic Tupperware styles. First came the Wonderlier Bowls released in 1946 and wowed consumers with airtight seals. Servalier Line came in the ’60s which was perfect for serving, preparing, and storing foods. They often came in sets of various sizes. Remember, to press down on that botton in the middle to seal up and preserve the freshness inside!
Kids can thank Tuppereware, too, for helping drive some extra income. Moms would never dream of giving their kids a glass pitcher to dispense lemonade for their daily lemonade stands, instead they would send them out of the house and unto the curb with their trusted Tupperware. Sold in many, many colors, these pitchers always came out at every party for lemonade or iced tea, too.
If you’re out shopping at vintage stores, make sure to check the bottom of each piece for a Tupperware stamp. There should be two numbers separated by a hyphen or dash, which is a two-part mold number. If you don’t see this, it probably isn’t a true Tupperware piece.
So what’s the oldest piece of Tupperware you own and could never live without?