I am starting a new monthly feature…I am going to be answering some of the questions that I get asked via comments and email about junk!
If you have a question you want answered about junk, antiques, collectibles and anything vintage, send it to me! I am not an expert in any of these topics, but I will try my best to find you answers!
Today I am answering questions about jars. I originally wrote a post, Junk 101: Canning Jars back in 2013.
[tweetthis]Ask the Crazy Junk Lady…about Vintage Canning Jars! #trashytuesday #onedollarcottage[/tweetthis]
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT CANNING JARS
Ball Jars: The Ball logo changed about every decade, and these changes are extremely helpful in dating old Ball jars. Keep in mind that Ball jars are still being made today including the “Ball Heritage Collection” line which looks similar to the old blue jars. It is easy to distinguish the Heritage Collection jars from the truly old jars because they do not have a loop in the “B.”
Drey Jars: Drey jars were produced under Schram Automatic Sealer Company from 1904 to 1925. In 1925 Ball bought Schram and continued to make Drey jars for a few years. There is evidence that Ball produced Drey jars until 1938, as their economy line. Any Drey jar is at least 75 years old.
Atlas Jars: The Atlas jars can be more difficult to date since there isn’t much variation in the logo. The Hazel-Atlas Glass Company was in business from the late 1800’s until 1964. The Atlas E-Z seal jars were famous for their wire clamp closure. These types of jars weren’t produced until 1882. Any Atlas jar is at least 50 years old.
Kerr Jars: The Kerr jars were first produced and sold in 1903. The oldest Kerr jars are about 110 years old. However, Kerr jars are still being manufactured today under the Alltrista Corporation (who also manufactures the Ball jars).
In addition to this general information, there are other signs to look out for when dating your old fruit jar. For example, if it has a mold seam going up the side of the jar, it cannot be dated any earlier than the 1910’s. Also, air bubbles in the glass are a sign of jars that were manufactured in old machines.
QUESTION #1: Can you still can in these old jars?
- One problem with old jars is that the rim on a jar needs to be free of any chips in order to get a perfect seal, and it is hard to find old jars with perfectly smooth rims.
- Weak old glass can break under pressure and spew contents everywhere.
- The old lids are also unsafe…the seal formed by a rubber gasket pressed up against old zinc lids can fail and admit air without your being aware of it.
QUESTION #2: On the bottom of my Atlas E-Z Seal Pint jar is embossed the letter “M” and underneath that is embossed “5 – 7”. What do these mean?
ANSWER: The letter “M” means that is was made in Montgomery, and the “5-7” were the mold and set numbers!
QUESTION #3: Where are some good sites to check the value of my jars. I have several pre-1925 Drey jars, including one that is a smoky colored glass (not clear). I also have some plain cylindrical Hazel-atlas jars that have no marking on the body itself, and a small H over A logo on the bottom along with two sets of numbers.
I stumbled upon over 200 old jars at a neighbor’s house, and am now overwhelmed trying to determine the value! Thanks for any advice!!!
ANSWER: Here are some websites I use for research:
Just found your page – very informative. I’ve been a collector of various items over the years & use the 1/2 gal. Ball Perfect Mason jars in my kitchen as well. Going through my stash of old jars today & found a few you didn’t mention so thought I’d see if you knew anything about them.
The 1st doesn’t mention ‘Ball’ on it; is an older style (sloped shoulders), pale green, with an IRON CROSS design above the words MASON’S, PATENT, NOV. 30TH 1858. On the bottom: PAT NOV; then the number 153 underlined & upside down on the other side of the line a 26 & a capital G.
The 2nd is a similar style & color; same words on the front (smaller & slightly different font) but on the back it has a logo/graphic that looks like a capital FJ with a small C inside a larger C & a diamond shape sitting between the top & bottom points of the larger C. On the bottom is a capital A over the number 103A 3rd jar has this logo/graphic.
From Glass Bottle Marks:
Many variants of the 1858 jars are found with a glass manufacturer’s monogram or logo placed on the front. In some cases the logo is placed directly above the word MASON’S. In many other cases it is placed immediately underneath the word “MASON’S” but above the word “PATENT”. For instance, some jars are marked with a “Maltese Cross” symbol which indicates the Hero Glass Works / Hero Fruit Jar Company, of Philadelphia, PA. On some jars the letters “H”, “F”, “J” and “Co” can be faintly seen within each “arm” of the cross. This type of jar is listed as #1939 in the “Redbook” of fruit jars often consulted by collectors. There are other slightly different variants of that jar also (this is just one example)!
What questions would you like me to answer next time?