The Mason Jar: A Short History

by Amanda Fenimore


Social media is flooded with crafts, hacks, accessories for re-purposing that iconic glass jar...

But how and where did it all start?

Let's go back to the 1700s. Needing a more reliable way to preserve food for his soldiers, Napolèon Bonaparte offered a huge reward to anyone who discovered a new method for food transportation. The initial attempts worked, but the the wire and wax seal was clumsy and unreliable. And an unreliable seal is a dangerous seal.

John Landis Mason, after several early revisions, patented screw-top glass jar we know and love today. The threaded zinc cap and jar mouth made for a reliable seal, while making the canning process easier and parts reusable. And the reusable Mason jar was born.

"The Mason jar continued to improve in design and gain popularity as competitors (like Ball glass jars) entered the market. In the early to mid-1900's, an improvement in lid sealing finally streamlined the canning process; making these glass jars a household staple.

In the 1990's, the launch of Martha Stewart Living supercharged the popularity of these iconic glass jars for meal prepping and home organization. 

Their "rustic" style has made them extremely popular so far through the 2000's, finding their place as lamp fixtures, cocktail glasses, and everyday drink containers.

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