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History of the Mason Jar

history of mason jars



Mason jars have become a craze over the last few years. They have been popular in the past for canning purposes, but more recently for crafts and home décor.

The mason jar got its start in Vineland, NJ. All of my fellow Jersey girls and guys might be surprised to know this. I know I was! It makes sense, after all, New Jersey is called "The Garden State". I now love my Jersey even more!

It was invented by John Landis Mason in 1858 as a replacement for the traditional ones that were utilized at that time. The former styles were opaque with wax sealing the tin lid. This made the contents of the jar susceptible to bacteria and also difficult to see what was going on inside the jars….a small science experiment I would suspect…Yuk!

                      Mason’s jar was different. It had a screw on lid with a tin disk and later, a rubber ring. The container formed a seal as the heated food or liquids started to cool.Sadly, Mason let his patent expire and therefore never capitalized on his now famous invention. He died in poverty in 1902.

 Other companies such as “Ball” took Mason’s idea along with industrial advancements and mass produced the jars. Since Mason’s invention in 1858 and up until the 1950s, home canning became a revolution. Between 1939 and 1949 more than 3 million canning jars were sold in the US! That sure is a lot of jars!

Today mason jars are prized collectibles and are common items at antique stores and flea markets. I own a few of these beauties myself! Canning itself has regained momentum among the “foodie” population and for those who are looking for pesticide free, home grown produce after the growing season is over. It really is something to consider if you have a garden. Opening a jar of your very own canned veggies in the middle of a cold New England winter will “almost instantly” bring you back to summer!

Mason jars are commonly used for home décor and are readily available in almost every craft store. For my next blog I will share my technique for painting the jars as a decorating project. I have quite an affinity for mason jars. They conjure up thoughts of a much simpler time when people spent more time at home with their families. I have never “canned” anything but I usually plant a garden every year. Perhaps this year will be a good time to practice the art of canning! I surely will need to research this!

I would love to hear any tips or stories you have about your canning experiences. I’ll be sure to post a blog on mine! In the meantime, stay tuned for my technique for making shabby chic mason jars. Please send me pictures of yours! Don’t forget to take a look at some of my Mason Jar products on my online store On The Meadow! 

Thanks for stopping by!


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