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Jars have a significant presence in the history of glassmaking. Glass jars
proved both essential and aesthetically pleasing to consumers and are
celebrated today as a collector's item.
The use of jars became popular for the preservation of food in the 18th
century, particularly the practice of canning and jarring foods to lengthen
their shelf lives. Glass jars were made clear to easily determine the jar's
contents, and techniques for an effective lid were refined. With this
perfection in design, glass jars were ushered in as an elemental staple of
Today, antique jars are a symbol of innovation and resourcefulness.
Though initially created in mass numbers, today these vessels are some of
the most highly sought after. Rare examples such as early colored Ball
varieties and pontilled jars which bear the telltale glass rod scar on the
bottom continue to set record prices.
In 1795, prompted by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's
posting of a 12,000 franc reward to anyone who could develop a system for
reliable food preservation, inventor and baker Nicolas Appert created the
first glass jar that sealed food inside with both wax and wire
The first Mason jars debuted in 1858. Ball Jars followed in 1886, and
Kerr, another name synonymous with glass jars, debuted in 1903
It was not until the early 20th century that makers, such as Kerr,
experimented with a rubber gasket to hermetically enclose the jar. This
evolved in 1915 into the threaded dome lid, which integrated the gasket
component into the lid itself and is today a standard feature of most jarred