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Before the modern grocery store with rows of canned goods and freezers stocked with frozen vegetables, there was the Mason jar.Filled with vegetables and fruits from the family’s garden, the Mason jar, with its patented screw threads and rubber sealed tops, kept food fresh in the pantry for the winter months.This means that any authentic blue Ball Mason jar is at least 77 years old.The blue color was partially caused by the minerals of the sand on the shores of Lake Michigan.Today, the primary Mason jar producer in the United States is Jarden Home Brands.Along with an extensive product line, they make both Ball and Kerr Mason jars.Opening one filled with tomatoes or beans was a celebration of our hard work and a delicious reminder of our summer garden.

Whether used for canning or decor, the Mason jar has an interesting story to tell.

With short-lived companies such as Lamb, Atlas and Drey, it’s pretty easy dating their Mason jars. Ball Mason jars can be roughly dated using their logo.

For instance, a Lamb Mason jar was made from the 1930s to 1940s by the Lamb Glass Co. With this chart found on the Minnetrista website, it’s pretty easy to get an approximate date.

The Ball jar on the left is an Ideal Bar jar and the one on the right is a RE Tongue and Bros Lustre jar made in Philadelphia.

These are called Lightning jars because you can take the lid off “fast as lightning.” This design was invented in 1882 by Henry William Putnam of Bennington, Vermont.

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