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The History of the Ball Mason Jar

The mason jar has become a trendy decoration and hip glassware. While there are many cheap mason jars available, the original Ball Company Mason jars continue to be the most popular with consumers wanting to show off their timeless script logo whether they use a pressure canner or not.

How the Company Started

Five brothers (Edmund, Frank, George, Lucius, and William) started the Ball Company in 1880 with a $200 loan from a family uncle. For the first decade, the brothers manufactured wood jacketed tin containers for non-food items like paint and kerosene. It was 1890, when the brothers moved from Buffalo, New York to Muncie, Indiana and began producing their now iconic glass mason jars. The glass jars were a huge success by proving families with the first cheap reliable container for home pressure canning. The success fueled quick expansion over the next decade which included the Ball Company diversifying into other packaging solutions in the early 1900’s.

More than a Glass Jar Company

In the 1950’s, the company formed an aerospace research lab which developed many innovations in telecommunications, space travel, cryogentic, and electronic optics. In the 1960’s and beyond, the Ball Company has focused on metal containers becoming one of the largest suppliers and recyclers of aluminum in the world today.

The end of the Glass Jar at Ball

While the famous glass mason jar is still manufactured today, it is no longer produced by the Ball Company. In 1995, the company existed glass container business and sold all rights the iconic glass jar.

That could have been a mistake as the millenials have driven an old grandma task to new heights. Jarden Home Brands which is one of the biggest producers of glass mason jars have seen sales double since 2001. Much of this renewed interested is due to our society’s concern for mass processed foods with mystery additives which have driven people back to the simple old fashion tasks of home gardening, food drying, and food canning. For many, the satisfaction of creating your own food makes the extra work well worth it.

Determining the Date of Old Jars

Ball Mason Jars have been manufactured for well over 100 years however they never indicated the manufacturing year on their jars making it difficult on collectors. Luckily, the Ball Company changed their logo several times before 1962 making it possible to determine good range of years using this summary of Ball logo designs.

The Modern Ball Mason Jar

Today people are buying them more than ever. They are still used for canning but Jarden Home Brands now markets their jars to serve drinks, hold fresh cut flowers, and even as all-in-one meal containers.

More Information: If you are interested in learning more about pressure canning, check out Chris Wimmer’s recent blog posts on HealthSmartLiving.com and Glipho about using a stainless steel pressure canner.


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