How It All Began

In 1993 two things came together for us:  our youngest child left home to be on her own, and my mother sent me all her old canning jars because she had decided she wasn’t going to do home canning anymore.

As we were sorting through the fruit jars, we noticed that not all of them were “Ball” or “Kerr”.  What a revelation!  There were Atlas Strong Shoulder, Magic Mason, Jeannette J Mason Home Packer and even a Mason’s Patent Nov. 30th 1858.  My late husband, Ron, said, “There has to be a book we gotta find the book!”  We started searching antique malls and flea markets, adding to our collection a few dollars at a time.  Within a year, we had purchased our first small collection, found a Redbook (the bible of fruit jars!), and discovered bottle shows.

Since Ron and I  were both originally from Indiana, we grabbed the opportunity to visit family and attend the bottle show that was primarily fruit jars in Indianapolis (since moved to Muncie).  That first Indy show was absolutely overwhelming.  We left there with maybe a half dozen less expensive jars that had unusual closures – a Millville, a Fruit Keeper, and a few others I don’t recall specifically.

Once it became more difficult to add to the fruit jar collection while cruising the flea market, we started noticing the “go-withs” –   the jar rings, lids, wrenches, lifters – all the equipment you needed for successful home canning.  Somehow I was especially intrigued with the jar rings, and managed to acquire a tidy little collection just browsing the antique stores and flea markets.  After that, I found myselt at the right place at the right time on several occasions and managed to acquire several collections when long-time collectors decided to liquidate.  And then there came eBay, and the rest is history.

My mom passed away in 2005, and Ron in 2009, so the fruit jar and jar rings collections hold fond memories for me.  Although I rarely add to them, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

What got you started?  Please feel free to tell your story


3 thoughts on “How It All Began

  1. I have no website but love my canning jars. Recently my husband who is a volunteer fireman was clearing out two houses that were slated as “practice burns”. He called from the site and said “hey there are a bunch of old jars up here, some have stuff still in them, you wanna come look?”. Well I have gotten perhaps 120 jars, mostly Ball and Kerr but have found quite a few Atlas and Lamb. Luckily I have found pints, quarts and half gallons of each of the last two………..a few old Ball and Kerr as well. So I am now looking at how to date these jars…….stumbled across your site and am excited.

  2. I started collecting fruit jars with unusual clamp closures back in the 70′s. I bought my first Redbook price guid and even some others that were out there and when I bought from other collectors since there were no shows to go to in our area, I would get type written lists (from a typewriter) that I could buy from. Finding jars was harder for me to do and I ended up steering off into another collection with my husband that we grew over the next 36 years. Now, we’re into country store advertising and while on the hunt at estate sales in the area, I was finding the common jar ring boxes like the Ball and Kerr and bought them up for 25 cents a box!! Now I’ve bought even more unusual ones from you and other collectors of jar rings and have a nice collection going on my own. As for the fruit jars, I ended up selling most at flea markets, garage sales or to antique shop owners altho I still have my amber Agee and pint fruitkeeper jar along with some of the blue ball jars that belonged to my husband’s grandmother that came from their old homestead. Jar ring boxes are alot of fun, great graphics and don’t take up alot of room. Thanks for letting me share my story.

  3. Great Story. My son’s name is Mason and over the years I’ve collected Mason Jars, “Strong Shoulder, Square, etc etc” and do not have a “Magic Mason Jar”. The search begins. Well my son recently got married to Jeanette. This Christmas her father gave them a Jeanette Mason Jar. Never have heard of those. It’s very special for them.

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