5 Facts About Mason Jars

5 Facts About Mason Jars

January 15, 2022 4 Comments

5 Facts About Mason Jars

First created in Vineland, New Jersey, in 1858, the mason jar was brought into existence by a man by the name of John Landis Mason. Today, the humble mason jar is found throughout fridges, cupboards and lunch bags around the world thanks to its millions of uses. In fact, with so many uses, perhaps the mason jar could stand to be a little less humble. To honor these jars which have served society through the ages, we have put together some facts about the jars we know and love.

Drawing for mason jar patent with description of jar

1. The Lid Came Before The Jar

John Landis Mason was a tinsmith and developed the famous cap and screw collar lid mechanism before the jar was developed to fit it. He worked tirelessly on this project to find an alternative for the current method at the time for sealing jars which involved a cork sealed with wax, which was not an easy method and was often performed incorrectly. The mason jar improved the ability for Americans to safely preserve their harvest. 

Blue Glass Jars with Metal Lids

2.  The Number On The Bottom Is Not A Date

If you look at the bottom of a vintage mason jar, you will notice a number imprinted in the glass. This indicates the mold number specific to that kind of jar shape as well as the position of the glass on the jar-making machine in the factory. People often confuse this number with the jar’s production date. The best way to date a mason jar is to examine the logo imprinted on the wall of the jar. The Ball logo underwent several changes over the years and by identifying which version of the logo it is you should be able to pinpoint the date in the Ball timeline.

Jars upside down in a box

3. Some Jars Are Worth A Lot

Almost anything can become a collectable and mason jars are no different. In 1933, a factory error resulted in some jars being made with the logo upside down. Today, these topsy turvy jars can fetch the fair price of $1,000! Even more rare, the black amber magic star fruit glass can sell for up to $3,000. Most incredibly though, a type of mason jar made by the Van Vliet factory which burned down in 1885 can now sell in auction for four, sometimes even five figures!

Jar with American dollars inside

4. Mason Jars Use Annealed Not Tempered Glass

Mason jars are made with annealed glass and not tempered glass as some people may think. Tempered glass - often used for cookware - undergoes a process of extreme heating and rapid cooling in order to make it stronger and safe for oven temperatures.  When it shatters, the pieces of glass tend to be in pebbles.  On the other hand, annealed glass is softer, but has been heat treated and slowly cooled to increase durability.  When it breaks, it shatters into sharp pieces and is still susceptible to temperature shock. 

Broken Jar with olives inside

5. National Mason Jar Day

National mason jar day is observed on November 30th of every year. It first began in 2017 when the founder of Unboxing the Bizarre, Misty Campbell-Olbert partitioned for the holiday to be set up. She wanted to honor the jar we know and love that has provided a means to preserve food long before refrigeration was largely accessible to all people.




4 Responses

Shelia Bland Mabbott
Shelia Bland Mabbott

July 18, 2022

Mason jars are valued higher in the southern states because they are harder to find. The rarity can be blamed on moonshiners who would break the number 13 jar thinking it was bad luck.
Lee
Lee

March 05, 2022

So cool to know how it came to be

Jane Wilcox
Jane Wilcox

January 17, 2022

very interesting

Jane
Jane

January 17, 2022

Good to know how the mason jar came about

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