Tupperware has been a household name since the 1950s. It became incredibly popular, and by the 1990s, it was selling over $1 billion worth of products worldwide—more than twice the amount in today's money. The Tupperware craze was so big that there's even a museum showcasing over 100 vintage pieces. What's cool is that the company didn't stop there; they started making products for kids too, like the fun Pop-A-Lot Ball Shooter set under the Tuppertoys line.
Earl Tupper and Brownie Wise teamed up to create the iconic brand, Tupperware. Their partnership, although it eventually ended, led to the invention and successful marketing of this household essential. Between 1960 and 1990, plastics became a common sight in homes, but this wasn't always the case. Before World War II, plastics were primarily used for wartime purposes like insulation and vehicle parts. Earl Tupper changed the game by inventing a new type of plastic called "Poly-T," which eventually found its way into households worldwide. Initially, the concept of Tupperware was considered too advanced and unusual.
It took a while for Tupperware to catch on, but when Earl Tupper teamed up with Wise, things changed dramatically. Wise took the product and started selling it at social gatherings, which eventually became the renowned Tupperware parties. Her focus on family, convenience, and enhancing home life quickly resonated with people. Soon enough, the company expanded its range to include Tuppertoys—made from the same innovative plastic but designed to be entertaining and educational for kids.
Even though they found great success, Tupper eventually sold the company for $16 million and retreated to an island seeking peace and quiet. Interestingly, before the sale, Tupper had already distanced himself from the business because he was discouraged from partnering with a woman, fearing it might affect sales. When the company was sold in 1958, Tupper paid Wise around $30,000 before parting ways, but not without Wise taking the matter to court.
In 1965, Tupperware introduced one of its first-ever Tuppertoys: the Snapics set, even though Wise and Tupper had already left the company by then. This set featured vibrant tiles that could be snapped together to create colorful and imaginative artworks.
From then till today, Tupperware has become a global sensation, continuing to produce toys. One such example is their shape sorters, available in two colors. Here, we present seven of the most nostalgic Tuppertoys from Tupperware's history, not just sparking memories but also playing a crucial role in fostering healthy and happy development across generations.
In 1969, a brand-new Tuppertoy made its debut, focusing on encouraging architectural creativity and enhancing fine motor skills, particularly finger dexterity. This innovative toy, known as Build-O-Fun, featured plastic squares and tires. The squares came in vibrant red and blue colors and could be assembled to construct houses, bridges, and even trains.
2. Busy Blocks
While there are many busy blocks available today with advanced designs and activities, the original version was a Tuppertoy Set named Busy Blocks. This set included square blocks in different colors that could be taken apart and reassembled, allowing kids to mix and match colors while having fun.
The exact year isn't certain, but the Pop-A-Lot Ball Shooter hit the scene sometime in the 1970s. This enjoyable game was all about bringing friends and family together. Here's how it worked: someone would put a ball in the center of the toy and then give it a good hit from below, sending the ball flying into the air. Everyone around would eagerly try to catch the ball in their own toy, shouting out to claim it as it soared through the air.
This charming set included blocks with numbers, enhancing math skills while promoting imaginative play and exploration. Vintage sets, if in good condition, can still fetch around $50.
5. Tuppertoys Bounce It Game
In this exciting multiplayer game launched in 1984, the objective is straightforward: knock out your opponents by filling as many holes as you can, ideally all of them, with your colored balls. Each player begins with approximately 20 balls, choosing their favorite color. Players take turns trying to get their balls into the holes, even if it means displacing an opponent's ball. While this game doesn't promote teamwork, it does enhance skills like hand-eye coordination.
6. Tupper Canoe
The Tupper Canoe set, released in 1985, now sells for about $50, but its primary goal was to fuel imaginative play. This delightful play set includes two tiny passengers cruising on a charming little boat, letting kids embark on exciting sea adventures. Luckily, the toy was made of plastic, making it perfect for sandbox adventures as well as bath, pool, or creek play. Remarkably, a version of this Tuppertoy canoe is still offered on the Tupperware website today.
7. Tuppertoys Puzzles
Toys like the Link-A-Lot and What's Inside Puzzle were fantastic for nurturing kids' problem-solving abilities and aiding them in matching and recognizing colors. These puzzles managed to be both enjoyable and educational, encouraging children to explore and learn while having fun.
Undoubtedly, Tupperware has created groundbreaking household items, taking it a step further by venturing into the world of Tuppertoys. Thankfully, with our growing awareness of plastic pollution, today's Tuppertoys are crafted from recycled and eco-friendly materials. While the choices for children's toys are somewhat limited, there are options like cutlery and dish sets tailored for young ones. Nevertheless, some vintage Tuppertoys have turned out to be valuable collectibles, making them treasured antiques.