Dating ball ideal jars
A frisbee-shaped glass lid took the place of the screw-on lid and was held in place by an ingenious wire clamp, invented by Henry William Putnam in 1882.
It’s likely that “White Lightning” derived its name from the fact that bootleggers used these jars to store their product.
Plus, the wonderful character of the glass, the beautiful breathtaking colors and hues, the varying closure types, the myriad embossing styles, and the re-worked and modified moulds make Ball jars a viable alternative to other much more expensive collectible jars.
And yes, out of all those millions of jars produced, there are many one-of-a-kind Ball jars, rare as well as scarce, and worth considerable amounts of money.
In this article, collector Bruce Wayne Schank talks about collecting antique Ball jars (fruit jars), and the history of the Ball jar.
Based in Pompton Plains, NJ, Bruce can be reached via his website,
Imagine this: the Ball jar was at one time reviled by the vast majority of the collecting world as worthless and a complete waste of time, money, and energy. Well, coming from a 30-year perspective in the hobby, I can say simply a few things; 1) there are many more collectors now than ever before vying for the few good jars known to exist or being discovered.
Now, who hasn’t at one time or another, whether at a garage sale, antique store, grandma’s basement or in some hole-in-the-wall come across a Ball jar, whether a PERFECT MASON, IDEAL, SURE SEAL, IMPROVED, SPECIAL or one of the myriad of other varieties of jars produced over the last century plus by the Ball Glass Mfg Co.1920 Hazel Atlas Company (1902-1964) -12.00 Aqua Ball Quart, Shoulder Seal, c.1900-1910 “Triple L” Large Seeds -18.00 Aqua Ball Mason 1/2 Gallon, Shoulder Seal, c. Patent Filed Pint, “Putnam” embossed on bottom -20.00 Aqua Ball Ideal Pint, Lightning Seal, c.1910-1923 -30.00 Aqua Ball Perfect Mason 1/2 Gallon, Bead or Ledge Shoulder, c. 1900-1910 Triple L -12.00 Ball Ideal 1/2 Pint, Clear, Lightning Seal, c.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.
I truly consider myself a very fortunate and lucky person that I just happened to be one of those few collectors who recognized long ago the intrinsic value, beauty, and history of Ball jars when they were objects of disdain or simply overlooked by so many others.