Ball – The Definitive Glass Canning Jar
We all know about Ball Canning Jars. They are the definitive glass canning jar. The original company, started by the Ball Brothers evolved from a small can company in buffalo NY to a large corporate conglomerate with revenues over $7.63 billion dollars annually. They had two products – Canning and Aerospace – go figure.
The latest incarnation, Ball Corporation, no longer actually produces glass canning jars, but the license to produce the jar is now is owned by Jarden Home Brands, and are still available for purchase.
Old antique Ball jars are more sought after, and some are highly collectible.
The history of Ball is quite fascinating, and really tells the story of glass jar canning and it’s technological evolution.
Ball Canning Jars – The History of the Ball Brothers
1880 Ball brothers starts business as Wooden Jacket Can Company in Buffalo, N.Y.
1884 Start making glass fruit jars
1885 Ball Starts making Zinc caps
1886 Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company is incorporated.
1887 Muncie plant built, while Metal operations continued at Buffalo and Bath in N.Y.
1888 Ball makes first glass products in Muncie – mostly glass oil cans
1890 Flint glass furnace for jars and bottles is built
1892 “Day and Night” flint glass tank installed – 1,000 workers employed.
1894 Wooden boxes of dozen jars shipped – first dozen of anything shipped to grocery – patented by E. B. Ball.
1897 F. C. Ball Machine invented (patented 1898) – world’s first semi-automatic glass machine.
1898 Ball first makes aluminum caps made for jars
1898 Ft. Wayne Glass Works is purchases
1899 Natural gas began to fail in Indiana Gas Belt Muncie plant about 1900.
1900 Ball-Bingham Machine invented – first automatic glass machine.
1901 Windfall Glass company is purchases
1902 Corrugated paperboard first used by Ball for interstate shipment of jars by rail
1904 Swayzee Glass Company acquired
1904 Upland Glass Company is acquired
1904 Marion Fruit Jar & Bottle Co., Marion, Indiana, acquired
1904 Port Glass Works, Belleville, Ill., acquired.
1904 Loogootee Glass Works, Loogootee, Ind., acquired.
1905 Automatic-flow feeder invented.
1908 Totally automatic glass-making perfected by Ball.
1909 Root Glass Co., Terre Haute, Ind., fruit jar plant acquired.
1909 First Blue Book published.
1909 Mason Fruit Jar & Bottle Company is acquired.
1911 Zinc mills in La Harpe, Kansas – acquired.
1912 Zinc mill established in Muncie.
1913 Texas Bottle Co., Wichita Falls, Texas, acquired; new plant built and operated until 1951.
1914 Began making rubber sealing rings for jars.
1915 First outside sale of zinc and zinc products began.
1915 Ideal jars first produced; discontinued 1962.
1916 Westside Paper Mill, Muncie, acquired.
1920 Jelly glasses first introduced
1922 Eclipse jars manufactured until 1952.
1922 Company name changed to Ball Brothers Company.
1923 Noblesville Strawboard Mill, Noblesville, Indiana, acquired
1925 Schram Glass Manufacturing Company in St. Louis is purchased
1929 Pine Glass Corp., Okmulgee, Okla., acquired; closed in 1994.
1930 Two-piece Mason jar closures made of zinc and glass; later of tinplate and glass and later of all tinplate.
1935 Pressure cookers first produced; discontinued 1941.
1936 Three Rivers Glass Company of Three Rivers, Texas is purchased
1937 Black mechanical rubber production capacity started
1942 Aridor Company acquired for commercial closures
1943 American Zinc Products Company acquired from Dupont
1945 No. 1 glass plant in Muncie, Ind., destroyed bu fire
1947 Friedrich & Dimmock, Millville, N.J., purchased to make spun glass fiber and other glass products; sold in 1949.
1955 Can-or-Freez jar introduced
1956 Ball formed Ball Brothers Research Corporation to produce goods and services for the aerospace sector
1962 Muncie glass plant closed.
1965 Quilted crystal jelly glasses introduced
1969 Company name is changed to Ball Corporation
1970 New Muncie home canning closure plant completed
1970 Greeneville Zinc plant is completed
1994 Ball started to manufacture PET plastic containers
1995 Ball created Ball-Foster Glass Container Co., a joint venture glass company with Saint-Gobain
1996 Ball sells glass business to Saint-Gobain
2002 Ball acquired Schmalbach-Lubeca AG and formed Ball Packaging Europe
2006 Ball acquired U.S. Can, Inc., huge manufacturer of aerosol cans
2010 Ball acquired Aerocan S.A.S, makers of aluminum aerosol cans and bottles