The History of Mason Jars

Homemade sliced pickles in mason jars on a kitchen counter

Homemade sliced pickles in a mason jar

The history of Mason jars

We often take our kitchenwares and appliances for granted, using them every day without stopping to think about them in any detail. Whilst it is perhaps hard to get excited about the history of a pastry brush, some kitchen items do have a story to tell and the humble Mason jar is one of these. In today’s post, we take a look at the history of the Mason jar and examine how more recent trends have brought about new product innovations for the company behind the iconic product.

Some facts about Mason jars

The Mason jar was invented way back in 1858 by an American called John Landis Mason. The key to his invention was the screw band that fixes the circular lid in place to form a tight seal. Combined with the rubber ring on the inside, the lid forms a hermetic seal, ensuring that the jar’s contents are perfectly preserved.

Prior to the invention of the Mason jar, jars were often sealed using liquid wax, which fixed a tin lid in place. This was a messy process that was difficult to get right, often resulting in spoiled preserves. When John Landis Mason filed US Patent No 22,186, things changed dramatically in the home preserves world and his jars became incredibly popular. Whilst John Landis Mason was evidently a clever inventor, he was not quite so astute when it came to protecting his patent, which was allowed to lapse. Many other firms were therefore able to produce ‘copycat’ designs and ultimately it was ruled that Mason had forfeited his patent by not actively pursuing those who were producing their own similar designs.

New styles of Mason jars

As time passed, many new styles and sizes of Mason jar were created to cater to the growing trend for home canning. Today, jars are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from small 250ml jars to one-litre whoppers.

One interesting development in recent times is the Mason drinking jar. A few years ago, hipster bars in London’s trendy Hoxton area started serving drinks in Mason jars. As the trend caught on, some companies decided to tap into the craze and Mason drinking jars were designed.

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