Dating antique ball jars
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.
A staggering number, what this suggests is that Ball jars should be a readily available commodity and very easy to find, making collecting Ball Jars a somewhat easier venture since more of these jars exist then probably any of the other manufacturers combined.
Yet with all that glass out there to be found, it has become a colossal challenge to categorize, date and fully understand the minutia of variants produced by the Ball Glass Mfg Co.
Five brothers founded Ball in 1880 with a 0 loan from their Uncle George.
In the beginning, they made wood-jacketed tin cans for products like paint and kerosene, but soon expanded their offerings to glass- and tin-jacketed containers.
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.
For a long time, the ubiquity of Ball jars prevented them from being particularly desirable in the eyes of collectors.
Hundreds of millions (probably upwards of a billion or more!
) have been made and used by home canners throughout most of the 20th century.
Between 18, the company made more than 41 million canning jars, which is just one reason why the words “Ball” and “Mason” are virtually synonymous today. 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.