Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Featured Artefacts: Mason Jars

Earlier this week I froze another quart bag of blueberries which I’d picked at a local growers.  To me, the ability to do so is one of the pleasures of living in Benton County.

Preserving fruit for future use has a long history.  A popular way to do so for decades, has been to can fruit in glass jars. They are often called Mason jars after John Landis Mason, a tinsmith who in 1858 patented the standard-thread screw-cap and jar to use with it. By 1896, such jars were machine-made, making them reliable and affordable.  In the 1900s, many companies made these jars. 
The Benton Country Historical Museum has a large collection of these jars in different sizes, colors, and made by different companies.  Here are a few of them.

This half-gallon blue-green jar was made by the Ball Glass company of Muncie Indiana during the 1896-1910 period and is one of the oldest jars in the collection.
The Ball Company also made this green pint jar during 1900-1914.  The jar was recovered during archeological monitoring of the Corvallis Riverfront during the Sewer Overflow Project.
Another manufacturer was the Anchor-hocking Company of Lancaster Pennsylvania which made this clear glass pint jar. The jar is embossed with an Anchor logo.
The Illinois-Pacific Glass Company of San Francisco made this quart jar of an unusual amethyst color around 1910.
The museum’s collection also includes jars by the Hero Fruit company of Philadelphia, the Hazel Atlas Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, and the Drey brand made by the Shram Glass Company. 

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon 

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