Tupperware party, 1963.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
Tupperware was developed by an American, Earl Tupper, in the mid 1940s. Polyethylene was discovered in 1933 by Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett, two scientists working at ICI's research laboratory at Winnington, Durham, as the result of a laboratory accident. The first patents for Polythene, the trade name for polyethylene, were registered in 1936, and a year later the first practical use for the material, as a film, was discovered. Polythene was used as an insulating material for radar cables during World War II, and the substance was a closely guarded secret. After the war it began to be produced commercially. 'Tupperware Parties' were a way of marketing the product directly to women.