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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Bill Lindsey's fantastic bottle identification and information site. Loaded with detailed descriptions and diagrams… [read review or visit site]

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

There's a ton of information here, but as with bottles, you have to dig to find the best stuff. Start with the famo… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

Plopsite.de

Plopsite.de

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Old Spice Collectibles

Old Spice Collectibles

Lather up with Creighton Fricek's complete chronology of collectible Old Spice shaving products. Start with the bot… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Scarce Early Ball Brothers The Ball Mason's Improved Patent 1858 Fruit JarHalf 1/2 Pint Blue Ball Perfect Mason Fruit Canning Jar1924 Hoosier Sellers Colonial Panel Glass Cookie Sugar Ball Jar W/lid & Stand NrVintage Buttercup Churn-mixer Patd 1930 1 Qt. W/ Ball Mason's Patent Jar Vintage Ball Zinc Mason Jar Lids/caps Porcelain Lined, Lot Of 12Lot Of 80 Ball Zinc Jar Lids Squatty Pint Ball Special Fruit JarHistoric & Authentic Hand Blown Re-creation 1885 Amber Buffalo Ball Jar W/ Box Nice Ball Perfect Mason Jar Light Swirls Dropped A With Lid OliveVintage Iridescent Ball Special 1/2 Gal Jar Wide Mouth & Zinc Lid Rainbow ScarceAntique Vintage Ball Ribbed Purple Amethyst Glass Jelly Jar W/ Tin Lid42oz Ball Dropped A Perfect Mason Fruit Jar Rb # 274 / Circa 1915-23 / CanningSmall 1910-1923 Vintage Old Blue Glass Ball Ideal Half Pint Canning Jar With LidVintage Ball Wide Mouth Zinc Mason Jar Lids/caps Porcelain Lined, Lot Of 410 Vintage Zinc Wide Mouth Canning Jar Lids W/ 8 Ball Glass Inserts Ball Blue Half Gallon Perfect Mason JarBall Perfect Mason Jar Salesman"s Sample With Zinc Screw Lid 100 Year Old EstateVintage Zinc Canning Jar Lids-- Mostly Ball- Lot Of 21Pint Ball Mason Fruit Jar With Amber Swirls In GlassVintage Lot 24 Zinc Porcelain Lined Mason Jar Lids Ball Atlas And UnmarkedVintage /antique Quart Aqua Ball Perfect Mason Canning, Fruit Jar #13 W Zic Lid42oz Ball Dropped A Perfect Mason Fruit Jar Rb # 274 / Circa 1915-23 / CanningVintage Unusual Square Blue Pint Size Ball Perfect Mason Fruit JarBall Ideal Mason Jar Pat'd July 14 1908 Green Glass Lid Wire Bail #4 #13 PerfectVintage Blue Glass Lid For Wire Bail Closer ~ Regular~mouth Ball... Canning Jar2 Gallon Glass Commemorative Eagle Ideal Ball JarVintage Ball Perfect Mason Mini Glass Canning Jar Salt & Pepper ShakersVintage Zinc Canning Jar Lids With Porcelain Liners 6 Ball + 3 Unknown Vintage Ball Perfect Mason 1 Pint Glass Jar #2 Zinc Lid Blue Aqua Antique OldBall Blue Half Gallon Perfect Mason Jar - SwingtopBall Blue Quart Perfect Mason Jar With Original Zinc LidOld Mason Ball Jar2 Gallon Ball Jar~ Ideal~ Modern Canning Jar W/seal~ 16" Tall!Ball Zinc Porcelain Lined Mason Jar Lids Original BoxBeautiful Ball Blue Pint Ideal Canning Fruit Jar Antique Wire Bail Glass Mason +Beautiful Ball Blue Pint Ideal Canning Fruit Jar Antique Wire Bail Glass Mason +Ball Mason Jar Salt & Pepper Shakers Clear Glass Handled Shaker SetBall Blue Quart Ideal Canning Fruit Jar Dropped A Antique Wire Bail Glass MasonOld Ball JarBall Zinc Porcelain Lined Mason Jar Lids Original BoxVintage 12 Porcelain Lined Clean Zinc Ball Atlas Mason Jar Caps 12--vintage Zinc Ball Jar Lids With Porcelain InsertsVintage Ball Zinc Metal Canning Jar Lids Extra Glass Lids Lot Of 10 Jelly Glass Ball Ideal Pint Dropped A Canning Fruit Jar Old Antique Mason Hint Of Color Vintage Clear Ball Perfect Mason 1/2 Pint & 6oz. Jelly Jar With Ball Zinc Lids# Vintage #11 Ball Regular Mouth Mason Jar Rubber Seals W/ Original BoxBall Mason Jar W/handle 6 Oz. Made In U.s.a.Auction! - Random Lot Of 8 Used Vintage Zinc Lids Ball Mason Jar Lids Boyd Lot Of Vintage Blue 1908 Ideal Ball Jars And One Clear Ball Jar (4) Total!! WireOld Ball JarVintage Lot 12 Porcelain Lined Zinc Ball Mason Fruit Lids, Blue Jar, In Box CapsVintage Mission Mason Jar Fruit Jar Aqua Ball Zinc Lid72 Ball Mason Jar Wide Mouth Lids And Bands For Crafts And CanningVintage Ball Blue Green Aqua Quart Mason Jar With Lid - Very Pretty ColorKitty W/ Ball - 2 Pc. Ceramic Cookie Jar - Pink-blue-whiteVintage Ball Mason Blue Glass Slope Shoulder Quart Canning Jar #1Ball Light Green Half Gallon Perfect Mason Jar-#9 1910-1923Vintage Wide Large Mouth Porcelain Lined Zinc Ball Mason Fruit Lid Blue Jar CapVintage Ball Zinc Canning Jar Lids With PorcelainAntique "ball Mason" Green Glass Canning Jar - From The 40's!!

Recent News: Ball Jars

Source: Google News

In praise of local herbs: Recipes ahead of annual festival
Asheville Citizen-Times, April 26th

Fill ball jar with fresh nettle (be sure to wear gloves for harvesting). Add bee balm petals and leaves and mountain mint. Fill jar with enough water to cover all plant material. Apply lid. Allow to sit in direct sun for one full day. Strain. Add lemon...Read more

Kitselman Energy Park plan unveiled
Muncie Star Press, March 31st

of Philadelphia-based Land Collective, said among the park-like amenities of the site would be Plateau Park, an elevated grassy area "because we can never dig down ... that's our history" as well as a Muncie sign with crushed blue Ball jar glass...Read more

Dave and Cheryl Fries' Home of the Week
CapitalGazette.com, March 31st

Before heading downstairs, we pause to look into the living room, and at the Ball jar chandelier. "We like the small town feel of Annapolis," said Cheryl. "We can walk downtown and see people we know. And, we like being close to the water." "Annapolis...Read more

Ball Mason Jar Production Factory Marks 128th Year
Indiana Public Media, March 1st

“Whatever the fad is at the time, and it changes year to year, there's always a use for a Ball jar.” Ball jar crafts on Pinterest. Photo: Pinterest.com. Ball jar crafts on Pinterest. Share Facebook Twitter Reddit Digg StumbleUpon Delicious Bookmark...Read more

Revised book is on the Ball for canning information
Milwaukee 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 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

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

Pour Mason: Kickstarter Turns A Ball Jar Into A Pour-Over Coffee System (PHOTO)
Huffington Post, August 27th

Pour Mason: Kickstarter Turns A Ball Jar Into A Pour-Over Coffee System (PHOTO). 08/27/2013 09:07 am ET. 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...Read more