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Not that there's anything wrong with that: Unlike, say, the Edison bulb, the design of the mason jar has virtually no room for improvement, and its timelessness is certainly part of its appeal—as an object, it is imbued with nostalgia, thrift and if you'll excuse another terrible pun a can-do attitude. Of course, the canning jar didn't come out of the blue though we'll see that the color has some significance , and its current mass-produced form was refined over the course of several decades in the latter half of the 19th-Century. The tinsmith's innovation was to create a seal inside the lid, as opposed to attempting to make a lid that was flush with the jar: By grinding the lip of the glass until it was nearly flat known as a 'square shoulder' and inserting a simple rubber gasket inside the lid, Mason achieved a sufficiently airtight seal, and his namesake was born.

The Ball Corporation—which also provides funding for the eponymous state university—was among the companies that capitalized on Mason's invention when the patent expired.

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Although the vessels were made of tin, the cans were lined with a glass container to prevent corrosion. With the help of two of their brothers, they quickly expanded the glassmaking operation and decided to produce canning jars, for which Mason's patent had expired in When Frank heard about the natural gas boom in Indiana in , they decided to relocate to Muncie the fifth brother, Lucius Lorenzo, was a practicing physician prior to joining his siblings in On February 18, fires were started in the furnace, on February 26, the blowers began to arrive and on March 1, the first products were made.

The first products made in Muncie were coal oil containers and lamp chimneys, not fruit jars.

More Than You Probably Ever Cared to Know about Ball Jars (a.k.a. Mason Jars) - Core77

The rest is history: Within three decades, they'd refined their flagship product into the form that is still produced today, and this year marks the centennial of the so-called "Perfect Mason. Introduced in in Muncie, IN, the name "Perfect Mason" acknowledged the first-ever self-manufacture of each part of the Ball jar—ensuring a perfect fit and revolutionizing the home canning process by providing canners with matching jars, lids and bands in a single unit.

Canning With Tattler Lids a Demonstration

The Ball Heritage Collection Pint Jars feature a vintage-inspired blue tint, period-correct logo and anniversary embossment. Here's a sweet manu-vid manufacturing video, for the uninitiated , which Ball has produced on the occasion of the th anniversary:. The timing is auspicious, as there has been renewed interest in mason jars of late, both for their intended purpose of canning and otherwise. A recent article in Creativity describes a perfect storm of circumstances: The recession fueled a resurgence in home canning and DIY projects while Americans' focus on healthy homemade and artisan foods made with fresh ingredients has been a boon for Ball.

And as a heritage brand, it's riding the throwback trend—when not used for actual canning, the jars often serve as simple centerpieces at outdoor weddings or as glasses at comfort-food restaurants. Peruse Pinterest and the fandom is evident. There you'll find all manner of ideas of novel ideas for repurposing Ball Jars, including one page dedicated to different uses.

They range from making layered salads in a jar; creating a hanging light; making a DIY air-freshener; and using Ball Jars as a bathroom accessory to hold cotton balls and swabs. I'll spare you the countless DIY tutorials, how-to guides, craft projects, rainy-day activities, etc. In fact, we've recently seen a minimalist Euro version and a hipster-friendly mason jar accessory. As for the tint? Well, collectors and enthusiasts most certainly already know that the pale blue coloration is characteristic of vintage jars.

According to Wikipedia , colored jars were considered better for canning use, as they block some light from reaching the food, which helps to retain flavor and nutritional value longer. More rarely, jars will turn up in amber, and occasionally in darker shades of green. Rarer still are cobalt blues, blacks, and milk glass jars. Some unscrupulous dealers will irradiate jars to bring out colors not original to the jar.

The best known or at least most SEO-friendly collector is Bruce Wayne yep , proprietor of the online resource balljars. Then again, that page hasn't been updated since and—as the marquee on the homepage broadcasts—he hasn't had Internet access "for some time," "only a Smart Phone [sic]. And as one might expect from a fella who moved to heart of Ball jar country, it's also chock full of canning lore dare I say 'masonic? Well, believe it or not, that wasn't too long ago in actuality. One of the primary ways of showing another collector what the embossing on a jar actually looked like in those days was through a process called "rubbing.

Ray, my wife and I were looking around an Old Homestead from the turn of the century. It was completely decaying and falling apart, but down in the walk-in part of the basement were some old jars. I have collected them for many years, but came across a couple that only had a little stamp on the bottom of the jar that had the word ball in it but nowhere else.

Any clue as to the time frame when these were made? Hello I make vintage ball jar lamps. It now holds river stones from my hometown in Worthington, MN. The house and farm are gone now, but after finding the inserts this past weekend, I went to look in the jar i have and sure enough there is an insert inside, never knew, but this one bears no numbers, letters or markings of any kind, and appears to be glass too.

It is larger than the milk inserts. Makes it even more interesting to me as its a family thing. Tony, thanks for your post!

I appreciate the bit of personal history you have passed along! Great story— I wish more people would be more interested in their own family history, where their own family grew up, and things of that nature.

More Than You Probably Ever Cared to Know about Ball Jars (a.k.a. Mason Jars)

It makes our own lives so interesting to have a better idea on knowing what has gone before. What date range would this fall in and is it rare? My guess would be it dates before , but that is only a guess. Mike, there is no way to tell exactly how old any of these discs are. Of course, those terms have different meanings to different people! Today we were exploring an old family home site.

Found a boys lid. Hi Craig, this is an example of an embossing error mold-cutting error. No ideas on how common or scarce this error may be. We are currently bulldozing our creek bank to prevent erosion and while doing so, our equipment operator found an old hand-dug well near the creek. My great grandfather purchased this farm in and I know prior to that date that there was an old house and a well on the bluff near the creek bed. My daddy in covered up the old well so that no one would fall into it.

One of the porcelain lids has the numeral 1 in the center of it and the other has the number 4 in the center. Both numbers are embossed in the reverse though. How interesting it is to find such treasures, even tho they may not be worth anything of real value. Hi Laurie, How interesting! Thanks a lot for your post! Just curious, what state or general area of the US are you in? I am a real history buff and deeply into my Czech heritage. My great-grandfather, Frantisek Janak and his wife, Rozalie came to America in with young children. My parents gift-deeded the acres to me and my three siblings. We are bull-dozing down a 50 to 60 foot bluff to prevent erosion and I knew this well was on the property but did not know the exact location, as daddy had marked it further up towards the fence-line in error.

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  7. I guess he forgot in his later years exactly where the well was after he had covered it up in the s. The milk glass discs are in perfect shape, not cracked or chipped. We will be using a track hoe to dig further down into the well area to see what else we can possible locate.

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    We also found some old medicine bottles and an old Watkins bottle. Wonder what else we will find when we start digging. Thanks for responding to my message. I love these kinds of adventures. Thanks to everyone for these tales. That well was dug sometime about the time the house was built and there is a large flat stone a few feet away that was the wash stone I know this from my grandmother.

    About 15 yards away was a log smoke house that had simi-collapsed when I moved here in It was where the family had stored their mason canning as well as shoes. Pieces and parts of shoes. Apparently when your bottoms or tops wore out, they were set aside and some part of that might be reused someday. For years every time it rained old shoe parts and canning jars surfaced. Sorry, this site is not an appraisal service. Some of the more unusual ones might be worth from 1 dollar to 10 dollars. A few extremely scarce ones and only a very few, experienced, hardcore antique Mason-style jar collectors might be more familiar with what markings appear on the oldest, scarcest examples might be worth more.

    If the color of the disc is something other than an ordinary white milkglass, the value will be higher. IF you get a dime, 50 cents, or a dollar apiece at a flea market, consider it a good deal. David, I found one of these lids in a creek bed that myself and my dogs go swimming in. Its the one with the crude 3 in the center. How collectable are these and do you know an approximate worth? Some of the scarcer types might have more value to someone who actively seeks them out. I found one in the Platte River in Nebraska…. It looks like the one on the very top left corner of your collage picture.

    Is that considered the oldest piece? Hi Caroline, the inserts have been made since about I have no way of knowing which ones in the group photo are the oldest. Most of the inserts are found in areas where trash including broken jars were dumped many years ago. Would it be correct to say it is of the era?

    I think that, in general, we can assign a VERY general time period of circa ss for lids with that exact phrase, but this is only a guessing game. Speaking hypothetically, if an archaeologist was able to for instance correlate a considerable quantity of these lids with specific wording to a KNOWN time period, from a number of a specific type definitely being found within a layer of, for instance, s bottles or s trash deposits , we might potentially get a better idea on tentative answers to this question………however I know of no such study, or of anyone interested in trying to find out which phrases were marked embossed on them during any certain time periods.