Dating vintage canning jars
Using physical, manufacturing related diagnostic features, most utilitarian bottles can usually only be accurately placed within a date range of 10-15 years (i.e., 1870-1880 or 1885) . Like many industries making the leap from manual craftsman production to industrialization and automation, technological advances in bottle manufacturing were not immediately accepted by glass manufacturers or their workers.
The category of food (aka "culinary") bottles - including fruit/canning jars - is yet another very large group of bottles and jars with a very high degree of diversity of shapes and sizes as shown in the image above (Switzer 1974).
Please be aware that in order to gain the maximum information about any particular bottle (e.g., dating, typing) the user must usually must review a number of pages within this website.While Appert’s invention marked progress, it did not help home canners—the process was extremely expensive and difficult.The only options for them was to use tin cans and solder them shut, or to plug their fruit jars—a term used by bottle maker Thomas Dyott—with corks, a practice that dated to the Colonial Era. They had come to my in-laws by way of an aunt who used to do a lot of canning. When I was going through them on Saturday in the garage, I think I let out a squeal when I saw these little beauties. I’ve been canning for awhile and I’ve never seen this shape of half-pints before. I have about a dozen of the round, straight shoulder Kerr “Economy” quart jars pictured on the left and another dozen of the squat Kerr pint-size wide-mouth jars on the right. But when I saw the labels on some of the boxes, I became kinda excited – don’t they seem rather old to you?
The evolution of fruit or canning jars parallels the science of food preservation, which itself was an attempt to address a critical need.