The roots of the Ball Glass Manufacturing Company go back to 1880, when Frank and Edmund Ball of Buffalo, New York, purchased the Wooden Jacket Can Company. Originally the brothers manufactured metal cans wrapped in wood, but when John L. Mason's 1858 patent for a fruit-canning jar expired, the brothers prepared to move into glass. By 1884 the first Ball jars as we think of them today were produced, and in 1888 furnaces were fired at a new plant in Muncie, Indiana.

Between 1888 and 1961, the company made more than 41 million canning jars, which is just one reason why the words “Ball” and “Mason” are virtually synonymous today.

Ball enjoyed a meteoric rise. Four years after releasing its first glass products (they also made chimneys for oil lamps and other items), Ball had more than 1,000 employees. Innovation and acquisition became two necessary tools to its success. In 1897, Ball invented the first semi-automatic glass-making machine, which standardized sizes and made production cheaper and faster. In 1905, Ball invented the automatic feeder, which streamlined production even more. Additionally, Ball bought out numerous competitors over the years.

For a long time, the ubiquity of Ball jars prevented them from being particularly desirable in the eyes of collectors. However, in recent years Ball jars have gained popularity, due in large part to the lack of intact jars. Some collectors try to accumulate as many jars as they can, from pints to quarts to half-gallons, in colors that range from standard clear, aquamarine, and green to less-common amber.

Others try to acquire jars with various types of logos on their fronts. For example, when the first machine-made Ball jars were produced in 1896, the distinctive script on the front boasted "Ball IMPROVED MASON," with an extra loop after the last "l" in Ball that almost looks like a fifth letter. From 1900 to 1914, the script was shortened to "Ball MASON," while from 1910 to 1914, some Ball jars bore the words "BALL PERFECT MASON" in big, block letters.

In 1969 the company changed its name to Ball Corporation as it diversified its product line beyond just glass into everything from aerosol containers to space systems; by 1996 it had sold its storied glass division. As for the Ball brothers, their legacy today extends well beyond fruit preservation. The family has been quite philanthropic, and Ball State University in Muncie is named after them.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Bill Lindsey's fantastic bottle identification and information site. Loaded with detailed descriptions and diagrams… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

There's a ton of information here, but as with bottles, you have to dig to find the best stuff. Start with the famo… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Old Spice Collectibles

Old Spice Collectibles

Lather up with Creighton Fricek's complete chronology of collectible Old Spice shaving products. Start with the bot… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Mason 1858 Fruit Jar Canning Jar Ball Lid Amber Vintage Zinc Lids Box Of 12 Nos Ball Mason Jar Vintage Blue Perfect Mason Ball Fruit Canning Jar Lot Of 3 Half GallonOld Mason's Pint Fruit Jar The Ball Jar Patent Nov 30 1858 Blue Green RareBall Jar Collection Elite Stainless Steel 21 Quart Water Bath Canner 114309 MoBall Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars With Lids And Bands, Blue, Set Of 6Blue Ball Jar Half Pint #8Vintage Lot Of 18 Ball & Atlas Mason Fruit Jar Lids 3" Zinc & PorcelainBall Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars With Lids And Bands, Blue, Set Of 6Preserved Octopus In Ball Jar. Taxidermy Wet Specimen Curio Steampunk ScientificBall Perfect Mason Antique Fruit Jar Number 13 On Base! Lucky Or Spooky?Olive Green With Amber Qst Ball Perfect Mason Canning Jar, Great Cond.Ball Perfect Mason Pint Jar Blue # 13 With Zinc Lid Preserved Octopus In Ball Jar. Taxidermy Wet Specimen Curio Steampunk ScientificBall Perfect Mason Block Letters Fruit Jar - Quart Size - Some Bubbles!Ball Mason Half Pint Squat Widemouth Fruit Jar W/ Vintage Zinc Ring Glass LidVintage Lucky / Unlucky Number 13 Blue Ball Perfect Mason Quart Jar Zinc LidWan - Eta Cocoa - Boston Amber Brown 1 Quart Mason Jar With Ball Zinc Lid 3 Antique Blue Green Pint Size Ball Glass Ideal Mason Jar Pat'd July 14, 1908 #13 Pint Vintage Ball Perfect Mason Canning Fruit Jar Blue Aqua Zinc LidBlue Ball Ideal Jar Half Pint #6 Or #9Complete Vintage/antique C.1916 Ball Blue Ball Made Top Seal Fruit Jar ClosureBall Special Mason Widemouth Pint Fruit Jar & Zinc Ring And Glass InsertBall Special Squat Pint Ball Blue Fruit JarScarce Deep Green Almost Emerald Ball Perfect Mason Canning Fruit Jar Vintage Vintage Ball Mason Jar Zinc Lids Nos 11 Caps Total Porcelain Lined 1 Atlas LidAntique Vintage Aqua Blue Ball Ideal Mason Jar Hinged Pint #4 Very Old C19103 Antique Vintage Pint Aqua Blue Ball Ideal Mason Jar Hinged Wire Seal 1908 Ball Ideal # 9 Mason Fruit Jar With Glass Lid. 1 Pint / Blue Glass1 Non Stick Silicone Jar - No Dunks Stok Goo Pad Mat Wax Oilslick Ball ContainerVintage Ball Mason Jar Zinc Lids & PorcelainRare 1933-1960 Era Blue Ball Perfect Mason Quart Jar-ribbedVintage Blue Ball Perfect Mason Quart Canning Jar Vintage...ball Ideal.....bicenntenial Jar..never Used..aqua Color...usa..Large Lot Of 50 Lids Zinc Canning Fruit Jars Ball Mason Blue Jar Country Decor U Vintage Blue Ball Perfect Mason Quart Jar #13Antique Blue Ball Sure Seal Mason Canning Jar Lid Wire Bail QuartLot 30 Glass Vtg Antique Canning Jar Metal Lids Atlas, Ball, Harvest, KeerBall Blue Perfect Mason Canning Jar #1 Half Gallon 2qt. W/ Ball LidVintage Very Small Lightning Putnam Canning Fruit Jar Mason Ball AtlasVintage Ransburg Black Ball Shakers And Grease Jar ? / Sugar Bowl - ExcellentVintage...ball Ideal.....bicenntenial Jar..never Used..aqua Color...usa..Rare Round Molded #4 Ball Mason Embossed Ball Special Quart Caning Fruit Jar Fiesta Kitchen Kraft Large Ball Jar Lid / Chip#2 Vtg Clear Half Pint Ball Perfect Mason Jar Ball Glass Lid Band Rubber RingLot Of 8 Vintage Ball Zinc Mason Canning Jar LidsVintage Ball Ideal Mason Jar W/glass Lid & Wire Bail Pint Size 5eVintage Underlined #4 Blue Ball Perfect Mason Half Gallon Canning Jar With LidBall Perfect Mason Quart Jar #13 Houston Texans Football Nfl Redneck Beer Mug Ball Mason Jar Wine GlassVintage Blue Green Quart Size Ball Glass Ideal Mason Jar Pat'd July 14, 1908 LidAlabama Crimson Tide 24 Oz Ball Mason Jar Smoothie Drinking Glass With StrawSet Lot Of 3 16oz Ball Mason Jar Mugs Rustic Wedding Drinking Glass With HandleBall Mason Half Pint Squat Widemouth Fruit Jar W/ Vintage Zinc LidVintage 10 Inch Blue With Snow On It, Christmas Ball Cookie Jar Handcrafted Wood Candy & Nuts Dispenser With Ball Mason Jar TopVintage Very Small Double Safety Smalley Kivlan & Onthank Canning Fruit Jar BallVintage Blue Ball Perfect Mason Quart Jar #12A Dozen (12) Ball No. 10 Clear Glass Canning, Mason, Fruit Jar Inserts No RingsHouston Texans Football Nfl Redneck Wine Glass Ball Mason Jar Feathers & Beads

Recent News: Ball Jars

Source: Google News

Southern lifestyle author was keynote speaker at Rose Festival Ladies Luncheon
Tyler Morning Telegraph, October 21st

old family recipes, that include homegrown ingredients, to the beautifully designed gardens that, when flourishing, become part of the home décor, Farmer's designs are inspired by the Southern landscape and can be lavish arrangements or simply a...Read more

6pm - Printmaking Demonstration by Erin McAtee with David and Sarojini Johnson
Muncie Voice, October 20th

Studios, Scarevania and Pumpkin Pulp; Andrew Hesik for the Glue & Scissors Society; Kelli Jordan, Principal of Studio Three Architects; Ty Morton on “Ball Jar Full of Dirt;” and professors and architects Andrea Swartz and Janice Shimizu on “Muncie...Read more

Recipe Corner: Make your own sambal!
Detroit Metro Times (blog), October 16th

Scoop the contents into a Ball jar, careful to touch the paste as little as possible. One thoughtless wipe of an eye or nose could leave you in discomfort. The sambal will probably taste a bit vegetative at first, less like a hot paste and more like...Read more

Ashlie from The Paint Cellar shows us how to make fun and easy Halloween crafts
WISH-TV, October 7th

The lid from a ball jar can turn into a friendly spider and your kids can make a simple toilet paper roll transform into a cute little pumpkin. The Paint Cellar's upcoming 3rd annual pumpkin painting party is on Oct 18th. All ages are welcome to attend...Read more

Newly Released Fairy Lights Getting High Marks on Amazon, September 24th

“I put them in a ball jar and will hang it outside as lighting on my patio. The packaging was nice, the lights are of high quality and simple to use and once you turn them on you won't be disappointed.” “I bought these lights to frame my daughters...Read more