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
Hoosier Hall of Fame: Hoosier InnovationsIndianapolis Monthly, February 3rd
for storing your twee artisan pickles. The functionally elegant Ball jar, made by brothers George, Lucius, Frank, Edmund, and William Ball starting in 1880, allowed generations of canners to preserve staples—before it became a staple in hipster...Read more
Hobby classes scheduledMt. Vernon Register-News, January 25th
There will be three sessions, and attendees can choose to take one, two, or three, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Learning Resource Center, Room 103, on the Ina campus. A rooster will be the focus of the first session on Feb. 23. Ball jar coneflowers will be...Read more
A Sweet Way to Take Your Cocktails to the Next LevelThe Root, January 15th
I took the Ball jar to the bar and mixed it with gin and rum cocktails. The Ball jar was empty within 30 minutes. The syrup was a hit! And at this time, there was nothing on the consumer shelf that I felt was worthy of being mixed with a nice craft...Read more
Revised book is on the Ball for canning informationMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 23rd
And in case you're wondering, the Ball jar is simply a brand of the oh-so-trendy Mason jar (as is Kerr, also a Jarden brand). The Mason home canning jar was invented and patented in 1858 by Philadelphia tinsmith John Landis Mason. Remarkably, the basic ...Read more
BORN IN A BALL JAR: DIY lightsBall 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
BORN IN A BALL JAR: DIY Advent CalendarBall State Daily, November 17th
Get bags that can be bought in a decent amount, making sure that they are big enough for any prizes you have. I found mine in the Halloween discount section. I cut the handles off them to make them easier to deal with later. 2 Using my marker, I wrote...Read more
Made From Here: Local artisans pay tribute to the Ball jar tonight at the GuildPitch Weekly, June 19th
From the preserves in grandma's storm cellar to that time you got hammered on girly drinks at that trendy new bar, Ball's glass canning jars have become an iconic part of American culture. This evening, the 130-year-old brand provides an unlikely...Read more
Pour Mason: Kickstarter Turns A Ball Jar Into A Pour-Over Coffee System (PHOTO)Huffington Post, August 27th
When we first saw the Pour Mason Kickstarter project we thought to ourselves, "Brooklyn, you have gone too far this time." To be fair, it turns out that it's actually Easton, PA's Intelligent Design Co. who have gone too far, but the sentiment remains...Read more