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Kilner jars

Kilner jars

At Wares of Knutsford we have dedicated a whole department to the Kilner jar. This classic piece of preserving equipment is still available in its original form and also in a number of modern variations on the theme.

The history of Kilner jars

The traditional Kilner jar was invented towards the end of the 19th century; however, John Kilner started producing glass jars and bottles in Thornhill Lees in Dewsbury in the 1840s. Upon his death in 1857, the business passed to his sons and continued to go from strength to strength, including winning industry awards. In the 1860s a second Kilner factory was opened in Conisborough, Don Valley and became a huge local employer. The awards kept coming; however, the pressure of increased competition hit the firm hard in the early 1920s.

In 1937 the Kilner family was forced to close the business, having sold the trademark and patent for its original Kilner glass jar design to the United Glass Bottle Company. In 2000 the Rayware Group bought the rights to the patent and trademark for the original Kilner jar and continues to manufacture under the Kilner brand name. A number of modern products have been introduced, still inspired by the original product, and these have helped to expand the Kilner brand.

Kilner jars at Wares of Knutsford

The Kilner clip top clear glass preserving jar is available at Wares of Knutsford in a number of sizes: 70ml, 125ml, 350ml, 500ml, 1 litre, 1.5 litres, 2 litres and 3 litres. Square and faceted versions of the same style are also available in various sizes, sold singly or in great value packs.

Screw top Kilner jars for preserving, which use the metal sealing disc and screw band method, are also available in 250ml, 500ml and 1-litre sizes, along with spare metal discs and screw bands.

A number of speciality products have been introduced in the Kilner style and have been proving very popular, such as clip top jars in coloured glass. These are available in blue, green and pink and in 500ml and 1-litre sizes. You can also buy handled drinking jars in clear or coloured glass.

Kilner swing top bottles can be bought in a variety of designs in clear and coloured glass in 250ml and 1 litre sizes; for sloe gin with a 275ml capacity; in a square shape; and in an 850ml ribbed design. You can also buy a 70ml miniature clip top bottle and a 200ml handled version.

Finally, a new product we love this season is the Kilner milk bottle, which comes in 189ml and 568ml sizes.

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Kilner Jars and Storage Jars

Kilner jars

Kilner is one of the best known names in the preserving world. Kilner storage jars are used to house all sorts of gear in and out of the kitchen, from preserves and dried goods to toys, crafting tools and cosmetic accessories.

The history of Kilner jars

The Kilner jars are named after their creator, John Kilner. He began making glass jars and bottles in the 1840s at a factory in Dewsbury and the famous Kilner jar was invented a few decades later. John Kilner was succeeded by his sons and grandsons. The design became incredibly popular thanks to its efficiency in preserving. In 1937 the business was sold out of family hands when the patent for the design was bought by the United Glass Bottle Company. In 2000, Rayware bought the Kilner brand and continues to develop it with new designs, while maintaining the original Kilner jar design. These days the Kilner name is well known internationally.

Kilner jars at Wares of Knutsford

At Wares of Knutsford we are pleased to stock a number of interesting items from the Kilner brand. Along with the traditional preserving jars, we also stock storage jars, coloured bottles and jars, home brewing kits, drinkswares and various kitchen accessories. Kilner kitchen equipment is not only extremely efficient but also wonderfully stylish, helping to create a traditional atmosphere in rustic or classic style kitchens. You can also buy spare metal discs for Kilner preserving jars and flower lids for drinking jars.

Clear glass preserving jars start at 250ml, going up to 500ml and 1 litre. Coloured clip top jars come in pink, blue and green and in 500ml and 1 litre sizes. Swing top bottles are available in the same colours in 250ml and 1 litre sizes, while you can also buy clear, pink, blue and green glass handled drinking jars . These add a modern touch to a traditional design.

Kilner storage jars in clear glass with knobstopper lids are available in 650ml, 1 litre, 1.5 litre, 2 litre and 2.35 litre sizes or as a five jar set.

In the home brewing department you will find complete Kilner sets for making lager, bitter and cider. The kits include all the ingredients and equipment you need to make your own delicious brews, simply add water. You can also buy ‘Make Your Own’ kits, with all the ingredients for red and white wines, cider, lager and bitter. You can buy all the equipment you need separately or in a complete starter kit.

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Kilner and Mason Jars, Brands of Quality

mason jars

Wares of Knutsford is pleased to offer jars by well known brands such as Kilner, Mason, Le Parfait and Leifheit. These long established names serve as a guarantee of quality, to the point that people often refer to any screw top or clip top jar as a Kilner or Mason jar, even if they are made by other brands.

History of Mason Jars

Mason is a brand name for jars invented by John Landis Mason, a tinsmith from Philadelphia, in 1858. They are often called Ball jars, which was the name of one of the companies manufacturing the product. They are made of transparent glass with an embossed logo and come with a metal screw top shaped to accept a rubber seal. Once used for commercial canning, these days they are more popular for home preserving and are sometimes known as Ball jars. Antique versions are now highly collectable items.

History of Kilner Jars

These are, in effect, an English version of the Mason jars. Made in Yorkshire by John Kilner & Co from 1842, the company went bankrupt in 1937. The jars have since been produced under licence by other manufacturers. Like the Mason jar, Kilner jars come in clear, embossed glass with a rubber sealed screw top or a clip top closure.

Other brands of Mason jars

A similar product is made by the German brand Leifheit, with jars in a diamond shape and a simple twist off lid or sealable disc and screw band lids, or by the French firm Le Parfait with its Familia Wiss range of terrine jars. Like the Kilner and Mason jars, these come with a two part lid – a screw band which holds a metal sealing disc in place. Spare lids can be bought from Wares of Knutsford.

While Mason and Kilner jars were designed for preserving and still popularly used that way, they have become extremely versatile homeware items with clever Wares of Knutsford customers coming up with all sorts of creative ideas for using their jars. These include as lanterns, as Valentine’s Day glitter jars, as snow globes, sewing kits, soap dispensers, cocktail glasses, vases and for all sorts of storage. Crafters use them to keep all their fiddly paraphernalia organised and easy to find, while parents have found them a useful way to store small toy items such as Lego pieces, beads, marbles, dolls’ accessories, hair clips, jewellery so that kids find them easy to find and easy to tidy up again afterwards!

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The Art of Preserving

kilner jars

On a basic level the point of preserving is to keep the freshness of sweet and savoury food items that would otherwise perish. However in reality preserving has become more than a storage method but in effect is a way of adding to or altering the basic ingredients’ taste or texture in interesting and exciting ways.

Pickling, fermenting, candying, curing, smoking, infusing, brining, freezing and drying are all methods of preserving foodstuffs, each having very different effects on the original ingredient. Making wine, beer and cheese are also, in their own ways, acts of preserving. Pickling or making jams and chutneys are easily done at home with fruits, vegetables and even herbs. Home-made preserves make lovely gifts, particularly if bottled attractively.

Preserving and Kilner Jars

Apart from the basic ingredients, a key necessity in any preserving process is preserving jars. There are a number of different kinds – you can use screw top jars, Kilner jars or clip top jars, any kind as long as they are perfectly airtight. Most people prefer to preserve in clear glass so they can see what’s going on inside, but also because rows of kilner jars and the like can be very attractive. Glass is also the most suitable material because it won’t react to vinegars or other acidic ingredients within. Whichever kind of preserving jar you use, you must make sure it is sterilised, either by boiling in a pan of water for a few minutes or heating in an oven for about ten minutes on a fairly low heat.

Great Use for Kilner Jars

Chutneys are a great way of using up a glut of fruits or vegetables and are a delicious accompaniment to a number of meals or snacks. This tomato chutney is incredibly easy to make and goes particularly well with ham and cheese. You could also add it to sausage meat for home-made sausage rolls with a fruity twist.


  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 5 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet mincemeat
  • 2 tablespoons of soft dark brown sugar

You will also need:

  • A preserving or heavy based pan
  • Kilner jars or other clear preserving jars

Melt the butter in the pan and cook the onions gently for about 10 minutes. Add the apples and cook for two minutes, then the rest of the ingredient and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes. Decant into the jars, seal the lids and store in the fridge.

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