Mould for a Tupperware container, 1965.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A single impresion mould used in the injection moulding of a Tupperware 'Mix-n-stor' container, shown with a container sitting in the mould casing. The container is made from polythene. Tupperware was developed by an American, Earl Tupper, in the mid 1940s. Polythene 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 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.