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This Week in Science History July 29
July 28, 1907 American manufacturer and inventor of Tupperware, Earl S. Tupper was born. Tupper struck out on his own in 1938 after working for a DuPont owned plastics plant in Massachusetts. He purchased some used molding machines and tried making products with DuPont’s polyethylene but found it was too rigid for his ideas. Using samples without the company’s fillers (because they made the plastic too rigid) and the concept of how a paint can lid works, Tupper created a plastic bowl that “burped” out some of the air in it to provide an airtight and watertight seal. He patented his seal in 1949. He tried selling his products in department stores which didn’t go very well when, Brownie Wise, who had been selling Stanley Home Products at house parties teamed up with him to sell his Tupperware at house parties. It was a very successful venture for both Tupper and Wise. Tupper sold the business in 1958 for $16 million.
July 28, 1858 fingerprints are used as a means of identification for the first time. William James Herschel, a magistrate in Nuddea, India requested that a local businessman make a handprint on the back of a contract. Herschel’s idea with the print was to frighten the businessman from repudiating his signature. He noted after collecting a number of these that the impressions varied and that individual identification could be made with them.
July 30, 1863 American inventor and automobile manufacturer, Henry Ford, was born in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford incorporated the Ford Motor Company in 1903, and by 1908 was manufacturing the reliable economical Model T. He revolutionized the automobile industry with his use of precision manufactured parts designed to be standardized and interchangeable and his use of the continuously moving assembly line. Half of all cars being driven in America by 1918 were Model T’s.
The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century