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

Local bartenders share some of their favorite cocktail recipes
Albuquerque Journal, August 1st

Pour the syrup into a clean, dry 32-ounce ball jar with lid, cover and let cool. Store syrup in refrigerator for up to a year. To make the drink, fill your glass with ice. Splash a small bit of blue curaçao on the ice. Pour in a shot of your favorite...Read more

Downtown shop gives fresh look to old fixtures
Muncie Star Press, August 1st

Another unique concept for the store, she said, is the Ball Jar Bar, which allows customers to purchase a glass jar manufactured by Ball Corp., then paint it and customize it with variously priced trinkets. "The jars were originally used to help us...Read more

The Invisible Nightmare in Your Fleece
Outside Magazine, July 30th

Every couple of weeks, I clean out the filter and put the contents in a 32-ounce Ball jar,” says the founder of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), a nonprofit that trains outdoor enthusiasts to collect data for environmental researchers...Read more

Cookbook review: Canning guide covers new ground
The Spokesman Review, July 28th

Released by Jarden Home Brands, maker of Ball brand home canning products – including the iconic Ball jar – the recently released 37th edition features 10 chapters plus three guides and a glossary. A how-to encyclopedia of canning and preserving foods, ...Read more

Could you be a part of aerospace?
Julesburg Advocate, July 28th

Would you recognize the "Ball" jar in the kitchen? The one that holds mom's pickles. It is the same makers of the glass jar that is also known as Ball Aerospace. While the interest of NASA and aerospace seemed to fade after man walked on the moon, and...Read more

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

Revised book is on the Ball for canning info
Duluth News Tribune, July 14th

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