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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Canning Jars

There's been a lot of posts about canning and jelly making lately, so I thought I'd post about canning jars.

Canning jars have been around for a long, long time.
This year the Ball brand jar is celebrating their 125th anniversary.
Go to their site and look around. There's recipes, items to buy and interesting info about the company.

In 1858 John Mason patented the Mason Jar. As a matter of fact there are jars that say Nov 30th 1858 on them, but that doesn't mean they were made in that year. That's the year they were patented. But they did stop making them in the early 1900s with that saying on them. So if you have one of those, unless it's a fake, it is still pretty old.

I have one. . . It's not a very good picture, it's very hard to get a good picture of a canning jar. The top of the jar is rough. It was hand blown into a mold and the lip was ground. If it was machine made the lip would be smooth. It probably dates to around 1900. I found this quite a few years ago at a Salvation Army Thrift store. I knew nothing about the jar at the time. It's probably not worth much, but I think it's neat and I'm keeping it. If you click on the picture for a close up, you can see the lettering and the date.

If you have lots of jars click on this great site that helps you date them. At the bottom of the page there is a chart of the different ways "Ball" was embossed on the jar and it tells the range of dates for the making of that particular jar. So you can get out your jars of produce and see if you have an old one. I haven't checked all of mine, but I did check a few and there were some in the 1923-1933 range.

There's even a Ball Jar Collector's Website.

Here is an old Kerr Home Canning Booklet.
It's the World's Fair Edition dated 1933-1934.

And I love these old Jumbo Peanut Butter Jars.

Here's a few old ones I found in my attic.
The one on the left is the cracked Liberty Bell made in 1976,
an old Atlas one and some pretty colored ones.

I kept these, because I thought they were neat. The one on the left has an anchor on it and says 'Mason', a square one embossed with lots of little blocks and one with tomatoes embossed on it.

Of course, jars aren't just used for canning. They are great for storage.

This old one holds sea shells in my bathroom.
They are the ones my dad brought back from Japan
when he was over there at the end of WWII.

This big Atlas jar is full of pretty colored bouncy balls.

Here is one made into a pretty light.
I put rose hips in the bottom and put in a candle light.

I remember when I was a child and my mom had bushels of canning jars under the house. She put an ad on the local radio swap and shop to sell them. I bet there were a lot of old ones.

Canning jars are great! What would we do without them?
Whether you can or make jelly with them, store things, or craft with them, they would be hard to live without.


  1. What an interesting post Janet. I do some canning so I have a few jars. I have about a dozen of the old blue ones and one of the old Mason jars with the rough top edge. I don't use those for canning but for storage. I use them instead of cannisters on my kitchen counter - flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn meal, etc. I love the look of them. blessings, marlene

  2. I love this post, Janet! I'll have to put up some photos of my jars. We own a lot of the same ones--the one with with squares, the Jumbo peanut butter ones. I have some that are kind of octagon shaped that I really like, and many of the blue jars, of varying ages. I priced a few and was surprised at their value.

    A lot of our jars came from the log cabin we tore down and moved to build our log room. Most were half-gallons, and like you we use them for storage.

    Wonderful post. Thank you!

  3. That is funny! I do the same thing with my old canning jars as Marlene! I have a few of them on my kitchen counter that I have filled with popcorn, rice, beans, ketchup packets, etc. I just love them. They were my grand mother's. She gave me all of her canning things when we moved to our farm. Unfortunately, I don't get to can much. I have jars stored everywhere! lol

  4. What a great post!!! I have a few of the old jars,and I wouldn't part with them a tall..yours looks very pretty the way you have them displayed..

  5. I love my mason jars. I use them for all sorts of things.
    Some day I want to make a diningroom light fixture with a wagon wheel and the blue mason jars.

  6. What a great post! I love collecting them, specially the blue glass ones I find at goodwill for 49 cents:)Thanks for the link for dating them!

  7. thanks for the post :) I am one of those canning jar collectors - I have some of those square shaped ones with the grid pattern too - they were my Grandma's were in her cellar, Dad and I dumped the icky ingredients out of them and I took them home and ran them through the dishwasher. I just love them.

  8. I have 4 Mason jars that have a star on them. "Mason" on the top, star in the middle, "Jar" on the bottom. Any idea where those originated from? They go so well with prim star accented things.

  9. Great post Janet!I don't have any old ones but I'll keep my eye out for some of these unusual ones!

  10. wow, I was looking for a recipe to use to can blackberry jam and came across this entry. Love the jars you found in the attic!! wow again. very cute. Well, I'm off to make jam.


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