Wednesday, April 3, 2013

For The Love of Ball Jars


I have always had a love for old ball jars and every once in awhile I happen upon some pretty cool and unique ones. 

Today I thought I would share with you a few of my favorites.

Bicentennial Celebration

Ideal Ball Jar

1776 – 1976

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The first production of the jar began in December 1974, in the characteristic Ball blue-green color, that would be sold in 1975. The medallion now had the addition of the words Bicentennial Celebration 1776- 1976 inside the oval. The jars were packed with the rubber rings like the original canning jars contained. At the bottom it said, Made in USA. On the bottom of the jar was the number of 75 for the year it was sold. Packed inside the jars was a paper brochure with a brief history of the company. On the front it said- The Ball Ideal A Bicentennial Salute. On the back it said- The Ball Ideal, An Historic Reproduction, Ball Corporation, Consumer Products Div., Muncie, Indiana.

There were 5000 special limited edition jars also made in 1974 as presentation gifts in the same blue-green color. The addition of the signature of Edmund Ball, a former company president, was put on the back across the eagle. These jars were not offered for sale and were awarded as gifts within the company. These jars are of course much harder to find today.

More of these jars continued to be made during the actual Bicentennial year of 1976. The jars were marked on the bottom with 76 to signify the year they were made.

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After the Bicentennial was over, the Ball Corporation decided to keep making these jars as storage items. To distinguish them from the Bicentennial ones, the words Bicentennial Celebration 1776-1976 Made in USA were removed. The jars also no longer had the number on the bottom of them. In addition the stippled background around the eagle was also removed and now just had a smooth surface.

Article by Debbie and Randy Coe

found at the below link

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1910s Ball Jar Sure Seal

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Ball jars were originally formed by professional glass blowers who were each supported by a small team of assistants. The glass blower would mark all of his jars with a number used only by him. This was done for payment purposes. At the end of the day, the glass blower and his team would be paid for the number of jars that were marked with their number.


Later, when machines were used to make all of the jars, each of the molds that the machines used were marked with different numbers. This helped the plant manager to maintain quality control, as each machine used at least four molds each. If one of the four or more molds had a defect, and there were several machines running at a time, shutting down each machine to find the defective mold could waste hours of precious manufacturing time.

Read more:

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In the early 1880s, William Charles Ball, 35, and his brothers Lucius, Lorenzo, Frank C., Edmund Burke, and George Alexander began making wood jacketed tin cans in Buffalo, New York, for the storage of oil, lard and paints. In 1883 the brothers switched to glass oil "cans" and then, three years later, to fruit jars. After fire destroyed their plant in Buffalo, the brothers moved their operations to Muncie, Indiana, where natural gas had been discovered. The city offered free gas and a generous amount of land to rebuild the company.

The Ball Brothers seemed to possess all of the talents we associate with successful business people today.

They built a fruit-jar empire by mass producing and distributing trainloads of jars across the country. They aggressively took over several other smaller companies in order to maximize their hold on the industry. One good example was in 1909 when Ball took over the Greenfield Fruit Jar and Bottle Company in order to gain control of the Owens automatic bottle making machine license, a significant business opportunity they passed up some years before in favor of their own jar making machine. After all, factory automation significantly reduces labor costs, even back then. The Owens machine did just that by cutting labor costs and dramatically increasing production.

Some of the more commonly known Ball jars include the ubiquitous Ball Perfect Mason, the Ball Ideal and the more modern Ball Mason. Some old Ball jars are very valuable while others are very common. Because of a wide variety of variations collecting only Ball jars has become a major collecting specialty.”

Atlas E-Z Seal Jar

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The Hazel-Atlas company was in business from 1902 to 1964 until they were purchased by the Brockway Glass Company. Their headquarters was in Wheeling, WV. The company came into being in 1902 when the Atlas Glass Company of Washington, Pennsylvania and the Hazel Glass Company of Wheeling merged to become one company. Their specialty was the manufacture of fruit jars.

Most Atlas jars are relatively common, however, there are a few exceptions. The Hazel-Atlas company made such familiar jars as the Atlas E-Z Seal, the Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason (the neck didn't crack as easily as the traditional shoulder seal mason jar) and the Atlas H over A Mason. In the 40s and 50s Hazel-Atlas was one of the "big three" jar makers along with Ball of Muncie, IN and Kerr of Sand Springs, OK. Owens-Illinois of Toledo also made many jars during this period of time.

Some jars embossed "Atlas Mason" are new product jars produced by a company using the old Atlas name.

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For the complete article and help dating canning jars check out this page written by Dave Hinson.

For help dating Ball brand jars check out this page written by Bob Clay.

One of the easiest ways to find a general date for Ball jars is their logo:


I have found many uses for my ball jars.

Here are a few I placed in a box we made out of old barn board.

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I also made this hanging vase out of a ball jar and some old wood we removed from a recent railroad cart project.

as mentioned in this post below


And I have a couple on my desk.

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What do I plan on doing with all these jars?

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Here are a few ideas…







Happy Wednesday:)

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