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

Wayne Hinshaw: When football physicals were a team effort
Salisbury Post, July 27th

She took his quart Ball jar and walked away, saying nothing else. Thinking back about that day, if that nurse had run her test on Strawberry's quart Ball canning jar sample, she could have cleared the entire team in one test, since it was a team effort...Read more

EDIBLE: Carmel Valley Ranch's new Valley Kitchen opens Friday.
Monterey County Weekly, July 23rd

Wood's rustic-organic-creative-Cali fare now includes a constantly changing “crouton” ($10) with different rich rillettes served in a Ball jar with olive oil baguette; this week's stars California Kurobuta pork. Other standouts include a peach...Read more

Reading Nook: Ball Blue Book
Northwest Arkansas News, July 15th

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

Kids celebrate the 4th with Schaefer's Hobby Shop
fox2now.com, July 2nd

Shop associate Heather Hutson emphasized simplicity is the driving force for children who want to make projects over the summer break. She offered finished pieces. She even showed Kim how to make a Ball Jar Candle Holder and a Patriotic Tu-tu...Read more

Patriots Hall of Famer Troy Brown turns 44
247Sports, July 2nd

The former Marshall wideout arrived in Foxborough as pick No. 198 overall in 1993, and went on to spent the next 15 years with New England on the way to earning an induction in the Patriots Hall of Fame. Over his tenure with the team, Brown appeared in ...Read more

Raising the Barn: A Review of Rail Epicurean Market
Indianapolis Monthly (blog), July 2nd

The seating area inside Rail Epicurean Market is tight-quartered enough—just a handful of two-tops and one long, polished farm table—that everyone in the room looks up from their Ball-jar iced teas when a customer walks through the door. One might...Read more

An ode to lemonade: How to make yours spectacular
Greenville News, June 30th

If summer had a flavor, it would be lemonade. Cold and crisp. A little sour and a little sweet. Usually yellow, but sometimes pink. Oh how do we love lemonade? Let us count the ways. It has history. To say lemonade is the world's oldest beverage would...Read more

BORN IN A BALL JAR: DIY Advent Calendar
Ball 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