Dating vintage canning jars

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A number of “error jars” are found among the Ball Perfect Mason’s, including examples found with the embossing missing a letter (or letters), or with a word misspelled, such as “PERFFCT”, “PEPRECT” or “PEREFCT”.

A listing of many of these error jars can be found in the “Red Book”, a price guide used by fruit jar collectors.

As mentioned earlier in this article, most Ball-produced jars are typically found with a mold number ranged between 0 and 15, so naturally some percentage of them will carry the number “13”.

Rumors have circulated for years (and have especially been promoted on auction sites and by flea market and antique mall dealers) that superstitious distillers of illegal whiskey (“moonshiners”) who often use fruit jars to contain their product, were hesitant to use jars marked with a 13 on the bottom.

The Ball Perfect Mason was a brand of glass fruit jar (canning jar) made by the Ball Bros. Glass jars with this embossed marking probably constitute the most popular jar for home canning ever produced in the United States.

(See “Ball Brothers Glass Company” page, for a brief summary of that glass company).

Sometimes the story accuses ordinary housewives of having done the same thing if they were especially superstitious.Very close inspection and comparison between different older jars (that may to be exactly the same) will show that it was very difficult, if not nearly impossible for all of the lettering (including the cursive “Ball” lettering and the “block style” lettering underneath) to be engraved noticeably different from one example to another, such as the spacing, height, width, depth of cut, of individual letters.On some jars, the word “Ball” is underlined, on others, not.The “LOGO 5” and “LOGO 6” are the two most frequently seen on older (aqua or Ball Blue) BALL PERFECT MASON jars: How to Date a Ball Jar Most of the typical Ball Perfect Mason’s are marked with a mold number between 0 and 15 on the bottom.On some jar variants, (such as the first BALL embossing variant on these jars, “logo 5” in above chart, used circa 1913-1923 on BPM jars), the number be accompanied by a letter to the right, such as A or C.) if you are “into” studying fine differences in these jars ….

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