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    

Pretty Green Ball Mason With Amber Swirls Quart Fruit Jar With Ball Zinc LidBall Perfect Mason 1/2 Gallon Amber Fruit JarAntique The Ball Masons Patent 1858 Improved Blue Glass Fruit Jar Half GallonMason's Patent 1858, Reverse Ball (over Ghosted Port) - Pint Green Fruit JarBall Improved Mason Pint Fruit Jar - Light Amber Swirls - Antique CanningBeautiful Deep Ball Blue Ground Lip Mason's Trade Mark 1858 1/2 Gal Fruit JarVintage Clear Glass Ball Globe Terrarium Bowl Apothecary Jar With Metal Base Extra Large Ball Ideal Mason Wire Lid Jar Hold 128 Oz Or 1 Gallon~~rare~~Rare Vintage Aqua "top Seal" Made By Ball In 1916? Glass Lid Insert Fruit Jar Ball Perfect Mason Jar Blue Glass #13 Vintage Large 2 Quart Old ScriptBall Perfect Mason No 13 Fruit Jar, Blue Quart Size, #13 On Bottom, Zinc LidVintage Lot Of 53 Ball Zinc Jar Top Lids & 4 Boxes Of Ball Jar RubbersLucky 13 Blue Ball Mason Jar1980 "ball" *our Centennial Year* ~ Lucite Jar Container ~ In Its Original Box! *pointed* "a" ~ "ball (3 Loop) Mason" (that's Right Of Underscore) - Canning JarVintage Half Gallon, Blue, Slope Shoulder - Ball Mason Jar Zinc Cap 3lVintage Blue Ball Special Wide Mouth Pint Mason Jar Droped A Zinc LidVintage Antique Rare Mason Jar Fruit Canning Ball Nov 30th 1858 Cfj CompanyVintage American Bisque Kittens And Ball Of Yarn Cookie Jar Usa12 Vintage Ball Canning Jar Zinc Lids (regular Mouth)2 Vintage Ball Bicentennial Ideal Blue Mason Canning Jar Wire Lid Pint A19 A925 Vintage Glass Mason Jar Lids Ball, Harvest, Jeannette, Atlas, Lamb, PrestoVintage 1923~1933 Ball Perfect Mason Half~gallon Canning Jar Lucky 13 ~ Zinc Cap131 Vintage Ball & Atlas Porcelain Milk Glass Lined Zinc Canning Jar Lids2-ball Jar-glass Tumblers-vintage Style Purple W Matching Lids And Straws-32 OzBall Perfect Mason Reworked Drey Mold Type Jar Varient Pint.Antique Big Clear Glass Ball Hoosier Cabinet Jar Canister W/lid Stand-up Or TiltVintage Aqua Blue Ball Perfect Mason Quart Jar W Zinc Lid #7Vtg Early1900s Aqua-blue Quart Canning Jar Ball Perfect Mason Zinc/porc LidVintage Half Gallon, Blue, Slope Shoulder - "ball" Jar With Ball Zinc CapHand Made Canning Jar Purple Ball Improved Vintage Glass Bowl Bird Feeder Vintage Ceramic Cookie Jar, Cat Playing With Ball Of YarnVintage Ball Perfect Mason Square Half Pint Ribbed Jar With Zinc Porcelain LidVintage Aqua Blue Ball Perfect Mason Quart Jar W Zinc Lid #7Vintage ( Ball ) Square Clear Pint Perfect Mason Jar # 13Rare Vintage 1900 -1910 Ball Mason Quart Triple L Green Jar Zinc Lid 8 Zinc Canning Jar Lids ~ Porcelain Milk Glass Liners ~ Ball Atlas Mason Boyd'sVintage Ball Mason Jar Salt Or Pepper Lead Metal- Type Lid 2 3/4"Moonshiners Unlucky #13 Blue Ball Perfectmason JarLot Of 6 Old Zinc Canning Jar Lids Fits Blue Ball & Atlas MasonMason Jar Chicken Waterer Ball Perfect Galvanized Vintage Farm Collectible GreenAntique Blue Ball Mason Jar "1-2-& X" "sloped Top & Zinc Lid With Insert MintBall Mason Jar Full Of 100 Arrowheads Native American Primitive Stone Tools Lot Of 3 Vintage Ball Ideal Blue Mason Jar 1 Atlas JarBall® Set Of 5 Heritage Collection Pint Jar BlueLot Of 4 Zinc Porcelain Lined Canning Jar Lids Mason Ball ~ Regular Size

Recent News: Ball Jars

Source: Google News

To-go margaritas come with several guidelines
Ball State Daily, May 21st

sell carry-out margaritas. He answers some questions about selling liquor to-go below. There are regulations that apply specifically to carry-out drink containers. For Three Amigos, it looks like the sealed Ball jar will suffice. No take-home...Read more

Cleo's to move downtown, current location to reopen as Three Amigos
Ball State Daily, May 19th

Margaritas-to-go are another hopeful addition. Clements said they still have to work with Indiana excise police and figure out some of the logistics before the mobile margarita is set in stone. For now, the plan is to sell them in a sealed Ball jar...Read more

Esquire's 'Knife Fight' Challenged Us, See What Happened
Monsters and Critics.com, May 19th

But Esquire Network and Chef Ilan Hall did just that, as the Vons delivery truck rolled up my driveway this past Friday and a nice man handed me three bags of groceries. True to the “Knife Fight” challenge, I received three different ingredients meant...Read more

Considering the lighter side of the Hampshire community
Columbia Daily Herald, May 17th

The glass Ball jar sitting on top of the counter at Mack's Whiteside Market in Hampshire contained 49 cents — an apparent compilation of unwanted change from previous customers. Taped to the outside is a typed note with a tiny picture of a light bulb ...Read more

Tough woman sings the blues in HBO's 'Bessie'
STLtoday.com, May 15th

Next, Bessie is on the street, drinking moonshine from a blue Ball jar and “fooling around” with a man who quickly gets on her wrong side. Now, she's onstage, singing before a restless audience. Then it's back to childhood, and then into bed with...Read more

Brunch in Bed: Ideas for Mother's Day
The Daily Meal, May 7th

Layer scrambled eggs, bacon, and even some hash browns and cheese into a wide-mouth Ball jar for a delicious handheld brunch. Tie on a fork with some twine and bring up to Mom for her to enjoy while relaxing in bed. Source: At The Picket Fence. Parfait...Read more

Papa John to Ball State grads: 'It's OK to be scared'
Muncie Star Press, May 2nd

Then, noting that Saturday was Kentucky Derby Day in Louisville, where he lives, Schnatter took a sip of mint julep from a Ball jar. "Boy, that's good," he said. He told the crowd that after graduating from high school in Jeffersonville he had wanted...Read more

Kentucky Derby cocktail recipes you can bet on
Indianapolis Star, April 29th

Boil equal parts sugar and water for about five minutes. Allow to cool completely before using. Hayden also suggests another method: fill a Ball jar with sugar, add equal parts boiling water from a tea kettle, and shake using heating pads. Again, allow...Read more