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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Recent News: Ball Jars
Source: Google News
Homeless man has marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms in car, police saylehighvalleylive.com, August 27th
Then an officer searched the car and found a Ball jar with marijuana and a glass pipe, a black and white pipe with a face design, a plastic bag containing marijuana and an orange and black zippered pouch containing three bags of marijuana, police said...Read more
Happy campers keep it simpleMuncie Star Press, August 13th
Glow sticks in a Ball Jar make an inexpensive lantern. Fortunately, many people who have gear are happy to loan it to rookie campers. Unless you are looking for ultra lightweight backpacking gear, most of the essentials can be purchased relatively cheaply...Read more
Sea Food: Steps to relaxing and savoring abundance from the earthPress Herald, August 12th
I use a smaller Ball jar filled with water to weigh down the vegetables to ensure they are covered with the brine; submerging the vegetables is essential. A skin may form on the top of the brine. Remove it with a spoon or tiny strainer – it's normal...Read more
Top 10 tips for healthy back-to-school lunches on the cheapWSB Atlanta, August 10th
Ball Jar Salad – This is another Pinterest sensation, so don't worry about running out of ideas. If your school doesn't allow glass jars, then improvise by using a small thermos. Start with a hardier lettuce like romaine, then layer on your child's...Read more
All in the family: 13 stars who've acted onscreen with their real-life kidsToday.com, August 5th
In 2003's Sylvia Plath biopic, Paltrow portrays the poet and "The Ball Jar" novelist who was equal parts talented and tormented. Paltrow's real-life mom plays Plath's mother, Aurelia. Kirk Douglas, Diana Douglas, Michael Douglas, and Cameron Douglas...Read more
Local bartenders share some of their favorite cocktail recipesAlbuquerque 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 fixturesMuncie 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 FleeceOutside 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