At the age of 16, Tillotson secured a job at Hood Rubber Company in Boston and, returning there after a 2 year stint in the Seventh Calvary during World War I, he was the only one of 25 Hood chemists without a college degree. Yet his inventive talents earned him a place in new product development with Hood and when the first shipment of raw latex reached Boston Harbor during the 1920's Tillotson began his lifelong association with the substance.
Hoods efforts with latex were unsuccessful at first, but Tillotson persevered on his own. At his Watertown home, he designed and produced a latex balloon with a cat's face and ears from a cardboard form which he cut buy hand with a pair of scissors. He managed to make his first sale of these balloons with an order of 15 gross to be delivered for the annual Patriots Day Parade on April 19, 1931. Tillotson put his family into production to meet the deadline while he continued his duties full time at Hood Rubber and worked at home in the evenings on the balloons.
Tillotson incorporated his latex business in 1931 and left Hood the following year. Depression tightened free money around Boston, so he bought an unlimited bus ticket which took him across the country in search of novelty company buyers for his new balloons. The great majority of those initial customers still buy balloons from Tillotson Rubber Company today. (Balloon division named Dipco)