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.


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Recent News: Ball Jars

Source: Google News

Papa John to Ball State grads: 'It's OK to be scared'
Muncie Star Press, May 2nd

Then, noting that Saturday was Kentucky Derby Day in Louisville, where he lives, Schnatter took a sip of mint julep from a Ball jar. "Boy, that's good," he said. He told the crowd that after graduating from high school in Jeffersonville he had wanted...Read more

Kentucky Derby cocktail recipes you can bet on
Indianapolis Star, April 29th

Boil equal parts sugar and water for about five minutes. Allow to cool completely before using. Hayden also suggests another method: fill a Ball jar with sugar, add equal parts boiling water from a tea kettle, and shake using heating pads. Again, allow...Read more

Werner and Mary Braun: Spiders
The Daily Citizen, April 23rd

I remember one day when someone from the office gave me a black widow in a Ball jar. Apparently, he thought I would find it interesting. OK, I found it very interesting. In fact, I brought it home and into the kitchen to show my arachnophobic wife. To...Read more

Classico® Pasta Sauces Partners with reCAP® (Mason Jars Company) to ...
Business Wire (press release), April 22nd

According to Wall Street Journal, “The Multitasker: Ball Jar” http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323723104578187500246283888, retail sales of Mason jars have recently increased 20%, and 100 million more Mason jars were sold in 2012 than ...Read more

Finally, a canner anyone can use with confidence
Standard-Examiner, April 21st

Brands (the people behind the Ball jar) and available at discount and hardware stores across the country, the Ball FreshTech Electric Water Bath Canner and Multi-Cooker (which sells for $150 at Freshpreservingstore.com) was three years in the making...Read more

Business Insider: 'Launch' programs a springboard for new ideas
Indianapolis Star, April 17th

Just ask Ball jar maker Jarden Corp. about Launch Fishers. As the company negotiated the terms on its 600,000-square-foot space in Fishers, it wanted 10 memberships to Launch Fishers as part of the deal. It seems the whales can coexist with the minnows...Read more

Finally, an appliance that can help newbies and pros alike get canning
Washington Post, April 12th

Released last month by Jarden Home Brands (the people behind the Ball jar) and available at discount and hardware stores across the country, the FreshTech Electric Waterbath Canner (which retails for $150 at Freshpreservingstore.com) was three years in ...Read more

BORN IN A BALL JAR: DIY lights
Ball State Daily, November 24th

No matter what holiday you celebrate, there is a certain charm and joy in strand lights. However they can be a little simple and while adding light, usually look raw and unfinished. Here are two ways to dress up your lights and make them look like a...Read more