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”)

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]

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]

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]

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]

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    

Rare Green Quart Ball Mason 3 Loop Jar With Amber Swirls Ball Quart Fruit Mason Jar - 3l Loop ***clear*** Circa 1896 - 1910 Redbook #193Old Rare Bright Olive Green Ball Perfect Mason Half Gallon Jar BottleVintage Blue Ball Mason's Patent 1858 Glass Pint Canning Fruit Jar W/zinc LidVintage Lot 12 Porcelain Lined Zinc Ball Mason Fruit Lids, Blue Jar, In Box Caps Aqua Blue Ball Perfect Mason Jar #9 Canning Fruit Jar Antique Vintage 16 Lot Ball Mason Jar Lids Milk Glass Porcelain Lined Zinc BoydsMason's The Ball Jar Patent Nov. 30th 1858 A On Bottom Zinc Lid Half Gallon AquaVintage Ball Sculptured Glass Mason Jar 4 Pint 16 Oz Flowers SunflowerOctopus In A Ball Jar: Curio, Wet Specimen, Scientific, Cthulhu, Steampunk2) 1/2 Gallon 1930-40s Ball Blue #13 Quart Perfect Mason Fruit Jar Bottle No. 13Ball Blue Half Gallon Mason Jar With Zinc Lid 1910-1923Antique Pint Aqua Blue Ball Ideal Mason Jar Hinged Wire Seal Pat'd July 14,1908Red Wing 25th Convention Collectors Society Commemorative 2002 Ball Lock JarUnlisted Ball Blue W/swirls ~ *port* Base Embossed ~ Mason's 1858 ~ Canning Jar!Spelling Error! "ball **pepfect** (not Perfect) Mason" ~ Canning Fruit Jar!Vintage Ball Perfect Mason Jar....lid..# 0...aqua Blue..super !Adorable! Little Half Pint ~ *ball Perfect Mason* W/glass Lid Canning Jar! ClearVintage 1910-1923 Aqua Blue Ball Mason Quart Jar With Zinc Cap & Seal - Euc/niceBall Blue Square Quart Perfect Mason Jar With Zinc Lid 1910-1923Vintage Ball Perfect Mason Jar Dome Lid Made In U.s.a. Salt & Pepper ShakersLot Of 6 Old Zinc Canning Jar Lids Fits Blue Ball & Atlas MasonVintage Ball Perfect Mason Jar..blue..#13...with Jar Holder..super Nice SetZinc Mason Jar Lids Aqua Atlas Ball Primitive Antiques Farm Fresh Set Of 50Antique Zinc Jar Lids 6 Ball & Presto Wide Mouth Porcelain And Glass InsertsVintage Ball Mason Sculptured Black Eyed Susan Glass Jar 12oz 61a Mason Jar B323 Vintage Blue Quart Ball Glass Perfect Mason Jar Zinc Lids Lot 5Antique Vintage Blue Ball Mason Canning Jar 2 Quart Qt 1/2 Gallon W/ Air BubblesBall Perfect Mason 56oz Blue Jar Dropped A Script With Uneven Base Vintage Script Ball 1/2 Gallon Canning Jar W/ Zinc Lid No Shoulder Light GreenVtg 1qt Ball Wire Bail Eclipse Wide Mouth Canning Jar Full Of Marbles W Jar HoldBall Blue Ideal Square Quart Bicentennial Wire Bail With Glass Lid Mason JarVintage Krasco Chicago Cherry Olive Pitter W/ 61a Ball Mason Jar 1950'sBall Wide Mouth Jar Rubbers

Recent News: Ball Jars

Source: Google News

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

Keep your kitchen safe with DIY cleaners like lemon and salt
Press Herald, June 28th

We lost power more often in Central Pennsylvania than we do in Maine. After a tornado touched town in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, our home didn't regain power for six days. We had two fridges and a freezer, all filled with food that had to be consumed or...Read more

Cheers America with this red, white and blue cocktail
Indianapolis Star, June 27th

Muddle two strawberries and six blueberries in the bottom of a Ball jar. Shake together whiskey, schnapps, lemon juice and simple syrup. Strain into jar. Fill to the top with Sprite. Garnish with remaining berries. Tip: Make it non-alcoholic or kid...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

Grapevine's Monarch Wheat Beer, Reviewed
Dallas Observer, June 22nd

be a great suggestion for friends who are put off by strong flavors. But any inquisitive drinker will certainly find themselves bored, whether they want an easy drinking beer or not. I'll certainly be looking for something more exciting the next...Read more

Jeff Lowenfels: A bumper crop of spruce cones
Alaska Dispatch News, June 12th

You can plant these seeds outdoors in the fall with limited success or increase your chances of having a tree farm by soaking the seeds in warm water (use a thermos bottle) for a day. Then put them in layers of vermiculite in a closed Ball jar or...Read more

Pack Your Own Spring Picnic
The Daily Meal, June 3rd

Picnic season is officially here; wooden tables and grassy fields are filled with people looking to dine under the warm spring sun. Whether you're packing a picnic for yourself or sharing with friends and coworkers, there are a few easy items that...Read more

Bring Swiss chard to the pickle plate
Asheville Citizen-Times, June 2nd

Sanitize a quart size, wide mouth Ball jar. Set aside. Remove leaves from chard stems and trim away any access leaf matter. Rinse thoroughly. Cut stems to fit jar allowing at least an inch between chard and mouth of jar. Pack stems upright in jar. Add...Read more