Mason wasn’t the only manufacturer to add this patent date to his jars, hence its vast proliferation.
John Mason invented and patented the process for cutting a thread onto the lip of glass jars, as well as a corresponding thread inside zinc lids, which could then be screwed tightly onto the jars.
It’s likely that “White Lightning” derived its name from the fact that bootleggers used these jars to store their product.
There are a variety of closures for canning jars from zinc lids to the modern screw-on lids.
If you find a jar with its original closure, it will generally be more valuable than the jar on its own or with a replacement lid.
Lightning jars, so named because they could be easily and quickly opened, solved the problem of canned foods acquiring a metallic taste due to contact with a metal lid.
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.
I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m adding something new to the shop!
If you can your own fruits and vegetables, you might be surprised to find the value of old canning jars is often significant, with some examples reaching into the thousands of dollars.Instantly recognizable by avid vintage-lovers, the Nov.30th 1858 patent date appears on literally thousands of canning jars produced between 1858-1920.The very first machine made Ball jar is not positively known, but most likely was either a Ball STANDARD or a Ball IMPROVED MASON. Ball produced many jars with this script style, the Ball MASON jars and ones with just Ball and no other embossing appeared right about the turn of the century.(3-L jars c1896-1910)So, I’m pretty confident that these jars do date c1896 – 1910, which makes sense because one thing that drew me to them were the awesome bubbles and waves in the glass.Some of the zinc lids have Ball embossed on them, but others are just plain.