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John Mason, The Mason Jar Inventor Never Made Money From The Invention

On November 30, National Mason Jar Day commemorates an ingenious invention that’s been bringing families together for generations.

  • While food preservation has existed for centuries, John Landis Mason from New Jersey made home canning safe. The young tinsmith’s patent #22186 for an “Improvement in screwneck bottles” issued a revolutionary design.
  • Mason, who was a tinsmith, actually invented the lid first
  • Even though Mason jars can be purchased at just about any store these days and have a multitude of uses, their creator, John L. Mason, didn’t make any money off of them. He patented his invention in 1858 (at the age of just 26!), but the patent expired in 1879. Since most competitor brands didn’t start making Mason jars until after 1879, he didn’t see any of the profit.
  • After the patent expired, many companies such as Ball brothers, Hero Fruit Jar Company, and Consolidated Fruit Jar company took the opportunity to bank on the design. Ball brothers exceeded at their products by introducing newer designed based off of the original, one of which was called the “bead” jar, between 1910 and 1915.
  • Ball Canning is one of the most popular of the Mason Jar brands. They make 17 jars per second!
  • It’s said that Mason also patented the first salt shaker.
  • Mason Jars are very collectible – one went for over $1000 on etsy
  • If you laid all the Mason Jars that were sold in 2015 end to end they would circle the earth
  • The logo on a mason jar can help you figure out when it was made.
  • Ball® didn’t trademark its now-iconic logo until 1904, even though they had been using one since 1894.
  • February 7, 1888, a Certificate of Incorporation was filed for the Ball Glass Works of Muncie. On February 18, fires were started in the furnace, on February 26, the blowers began to arrive and on March 1, the first products were made. The first products made in Muncie were coal oil containers and lamp chimneys, not fruit jars.


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