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Antique Bottles - Fruit Jars

American Fruit Jars were used for home canning of all kinds of foodstuff besides fruit. Fruit jars were perfected mainly during the 1800s and have changed little since that time. They were sold empty for use in home preservation. The manufacturer whose advertising campaign gave fruit jars their name was Thomas W. Dyott, who was in the market early, selling fruit jars by 1829.

Antique Fruit Jars

Collectors rate jars according to their rarity, color, size and method of closure. The oldest jars, called wax sealers, were sealed with cork or metal lids and melted wax. Wax sealers were awkward to use, and home canning did not become popular until 1858, when John Mason patented a zinc screw cap and rubber ring. After Mason's patent expired, a host of other companies copied his design, some even using his name and patent date.

The second widely successful jar closure, called the Lightning, was introduced in 1882 by Henry Putnam. It had three wires to hold a glass lid and rubber ring in place under pressure. In 1903 Julius Landsberger patented the type commonly used today. A flat metal lid that was precoated on the underside with a substance that softened when it was heated and then adhered to the rim of the jar when it cooled.

Jars with practical closures were made in great number and generally are not very valuable to collectors. More desirable are jar closures that did not please the home canner and were manufactured for only a short time. Such as R.M. Dalbey's fruit jar which sealed with a complicated metal lid and three thumb screws.

Unusual color can make even a jar with a common closure a prize. Most jars were clear or a pale blue green that collectors call aqua. The rarer jars come in a varity of colors such as different shades of blue, amber, black, milk glass, green and purple. Very few black jars were made. Practically all jars in cobalt blue were special creations known as afterhours glass and were made from leftover glass. Old jars have lips that were finished by grinding. Many contain imperfections known as seeds or bubbles. Lack of grinding, bubbles and a roughened look are signs that indicate a date before the early 1900s, when glass made by machines took over.

Purple Honest Mason 1858 Canning Fruit Jar

Purple Honest Mason 1858 Canning Fruit Jar

Millville Atmospheric Fruit Jars 1 Quart 1 Pint

Millville Atmospheric Fruit Jars 1 Quart 1 Pint

The following is list of some early maker of fruit jars and their names: Agnew & Co., Allen, Almy, Atlas E-Z Seal, Bagley & Co., Baltimore Glass Work, Banner, Beaver, Belle, Bennetts, Calcutt, C.F. Spencer, Chicago Trade, Commonwealth Fruit Jar, Crystal Food Holder, D.H. McAlpin, Empress, F.B. Co., Fink & Nasse, Globe, Hamilton, N. Osburn, The Automatic Sealer, Gem, Mason, Puritan, The Vacuum Seal Fruit Jar Co., Thompson, Wheeler Fruit Jar, Whitemore, Wm Pogue, Woodbury, Worcester, etc.

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