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I’m the current contact for information about historical Ball jars on the Ball Corporation web site.One of the most common emails I receive comes with a description of a jar—e.g., Blue pint Perfect Mason with the number 5 on the bottom—and the question, “How old is my jar?
A frisbee-shaped glass lid took the place of the screw-on lid and was held in place by an ingenious wire clamp, invented by Henry William Putnam in 1882.
Hazel Glass Company aka Hazel Atlas Corporation was formed in 1885 by two brothers, Charles N. The new company made pressed tumblers utilizing a newly developed automatic press. This company later became part of the Hazel-Atlas Corporation.
With competition from Libbey Glass mounting and because of the development of a patented piece of equipment that increased glass production automation, a 3rd company was formed called Republic Glass Company.
The familiar term Mason Jar came after its inventor, Mr. Mason, who, at age 26, was a tinsmith in New York City.
He perfected a machine that could cut threads into lids, which ushered in the ability of manufacturing a jar with a reusable, screw-on, lid.
It’s likely that “White Lightning” derived its name from the fact that bootleggers used these jars to store their product.