Dating antique ball jars
Yes, the mason jar certainly harkens back to a simpler time, before refrigerators and artificial preservatives, and now that we take those things for granted, canning has become something of a throwback jam (cue snare)—the vessel once dedicated to keeping and storing foodstuffs is now commonly used as a drinking glass or decorative object.Not that there's anything wrong with that: Unlike, say, the Edison bulb, the design of the mason jar has virtually no room for improvement, and its timelessness is certainly part of its appeal—as an object, it is imbued with nostalgia, thrift and (if you'll excuse another terrible pun) a can-do attitude.(In fact, we've recently seen a minimalist Euro version and a hipster-friendly mason jar accessory.)As for the tint?Well, collectors and enthusiasts most certainly already know that the pale blue coloration is characteristic of vintage jars.The Ball Heritage Collection Pint Jars feature a vintage-inspired blue tint, period-correct logo and anniversary embossment.Here's a sweet manu-vid (manufacturing video, for the uninitiated), which Ball has produced on the occasion of the 100th anniversary: The timing is auspicious, as there has been renewed interest in mason jars of late, both for their intended purpose of canning and otherwise.The first products made in Muncie were coal oil containers and lamp chimneys, not fruit jars.
When Frank heard about the natural gas boom in Indiana in 1886, they decided to relocate to Muncie (the fifth brother, Lucius Lorenzo, was a practicing physician prior to joining his siblings in 1897).According to Wikipedia, colored jars were considered better for canning use, as they block some light from reaching the food, which helps to retain flavor and nutritional value longer.More rarely, jars will turn up in amber, and occasionally in darker shades of green.As the story goes, Frank and Edmund—two of Lucius Styles Ball and Maria Polly Bingham Ball five sons (a sixth, Clinton Harvey, died in infancy)—borrowed 0 from an uncle to buy a kerosene can company in upstate New York in 1880.
Although the vessels were made of tin, the cans were lined with a glass container to prevent corrosion.Rarer still are cobalt blues, blacks, and milk glass jars.Some unscrupulous dealers will irradiate jars to bring out colors not original to the jar.By grinding the lip of the glass until it was nearly flat (known as a 'square shoulder') and inserting a simple rubber gasket inside the lid, Mason achieved a sufficiently airtight seal, and his namesake was born.