Friday, March 2, 2012

Ball Mason Jars - just how old are they?

Since we live in Franklin County Virginia, aka The Moonshine Capital of the World, I have been finding old and new Mason jars and using them here at the Claiborne House B&B.
This is my souvenir from visiting Muncie Indiana (home to Ball Canning)
One use I have for them is to hold flowers, yes that's right, the flowers get to drink the Franklin County water.  Around here though they are simply called "FRUIT JARS."

A year or so ago I had the pleasure of visiting an innmate of mine, Jane, at her lovely B&B McDowell-Nearing House in Muncie Indiana. Her B&B is adjacent to Ball State University, and just down the road from the Ball Brothers Mansions. Another friend and myself along with Jane even got to visit a glass museum while there, which was a real treat! Why were the glass works so prevalent in Muncie Indiana? NATURAL GAS. We went to visit Jane's cousins who live on a farm and have their own gas well. They told us they can have friends over for a cook-out and pop the top off the gas well and sit around it like a fire ring! I really thought this was something. 

So a few months ago I was on the hunt to find the BALL MASON font/typeface to make up some "Franklin County's Finest" t-shirts (which I still have not done btw). Apparently you cannot copy it, so I had to look at another route. They were going to be Tie-Dyed and really funky so everyone would want one!  I still want one. It is on the list...

Meanwhile, today Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke (worth a visit btw) tweeted this amazing chart:
Chart to help you know the date of your ball jars
So this was very exciting to me! I know, doesn't take much, but this is how I operate. So I grabbed the Ball  Mason Jar I bought on my way out of Indianapolis at an antique store that had them from what seemed like every era, just piled up in their basement. I liked this one without the weight measurements, and with the old zinc top and old bubbly blue glass! I knew it was old, but not sure how old. Now you can compare it with the chart and see it is from 1910-1923. I also have some of the really old ones, I just didn't take a photo of them for this blog.

More on Ball Mason jars here. You might be interested to see that Ball invented some automation that is now used world-wide.

41 million were made between 1888 and 1961!

You can read some more about this PERFECT MASON, zinc caps, even milk-glass inserts here. Oddly enough I got a kick out of this line:

"Right about 1910, Ball began phasing out the familiar "shoulder seal" type jars (the cap screws right down onto the shoulder) and went to a new style called a "bead seal". (the cap screwed down onto a bead of glass at the neck)."  
If you know anything about moonshine you would have heard the term "BEAD" before.


One of the many uses for Ball Mason Jars
As you can see there were many uses for Ball Mason Jars, but one thing I learned while in Muncie with Jane was that of course Ball also made marbles. Of course they did! As a kid marbles were the most beautiful things to many of us, how cool to actually know where they were made. A glass factory, of course! It all makes sense.

Life is too short for bad coffee...Shellie your innkeeper @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount, VA - Blue Ridge Country! You can book your room online at any time right here http://www.claibornehouse.net/

The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast is 15 miles to three exits off The Blue Ridge Parkway.  We are located at the half-way point of this beloved road in Virginia, exit at MP 121.  We were awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor - click here to see our certificate.

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