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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Clubs & Associations
- Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors
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Southern lifestyle author was keynote speaker at Rose Festival Ladies LuncheonTyler 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 JohnsonMuncie 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 craftsWISH-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 AmazonDigitalJournal.com, 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