Before the industrial revolution, folks didn't use to drink from glasses. The drinking vessels were made of materials that hide the unpleasant view of a low-quality drink.
But things changed in the 19th century when production of glass increased exponentially along with the improvement of the brewing techniques. Since then, many "beer regions" have developed their special beer glass styles for their beer.
The history can't tell who was the inventor of a tulip glass, but this type of a beer glass was commonly used for Belgian Abbey beer (monastic beer), with complex and subtle aromas, mostly only in Belgian regions, since the 19th century.
Even though It became popular around the world much later, in the 20th century, it is still considered to be one of the best traditional glass styles, which universally fits nearly every known beer style.
Tulip shape intensifies the beer aroma by trapping it inside. Here are some beer style examples that are great for tulip-shaped glass: Belgian Blonde Ale, Belgian Witbier, German Doppelbock, American IPA Beer, French Bière de Garde, Oud Bruin.