Antique & Vintage Canning Jar Price Guide

Welcome to my antique and vintage canning jar price guide! In it you’ll find many commonly found canning jars and their suggested values. But before we jump in, liets take a look at some of the history behind these vintage collectibles.

Mason Jars Patented Nov. 30th, 1858

Instantly recognizable by avid vintage-lovers, the Nov. 30th 1858 patent date appears on literally thousands of canning jars produced between 1858-1920. Mason wasn’t the only manufacturer to add this patent date to his jars, hence its vast proliferation.

John Mason invented and patented the process for cutting a thread onto the lip of glass jars, as well as a corresponding thread inside zinc lids, which could then be screwed tightly onto the jars. A rubber ring tucked inside the lid created the seal necessary to preserve the contents.

The invention gave homemakers a new means of preserving food for their households, in addition to smoking, salting, drying, and pickling.

Lightning Jars Patented by Henry William Putnam

Lightning jars, so named because they could be easily and quickly opened, solved the problem of canned foods acquiring a metallic taste due to contact with a metal lid. A frisbee-shaped glass lid took the place of the screw-on lid and was held in place by an ingenious wire clamp, invented by Henry William Putnam in 1882.

It’s likely that “White Lightning” derived its name from the fact that bootleggers used these jars to store their product.

Ball Brothers in Buffalo (NY)

The Ball brothers, Frank and Ed, developed a semi-automatic process for the manufacture of fruit jars, which greatly increased the number of jars on the market and led to Ball jars becoming synonymous with the term “fruit jars,” much like Kleenex became for “tissue.”

Fruit jars were produced primarily in clear and “Ball blue” (aqua), but some amber, cobalt, and even milk glass examples can be found out there in the wild, and they are likely worth upwards of several hundred dollars.

Some Canning Jar Terms
Seeds: Air bubbles trapped in glass, often seed-shaped.
Shoulder Seal: Lid screws right down to shoulder.
Bead or Ledge Shoulder: A prominent ridge below the screw threads, but above the actual shoulder, also called a “strong shoulder.”
Triple L: Refers to the two L’s in “Ball” and the final loop resembling an additional “L”

Related posts of mine you might be interested in:

Collecting Vintage & Antique Canning Jars
Collecting Vintage & Antique Bottles
How to Clean & Care for Old Bottles

vintage aqua canning jars

Antique Mason Canning Jars

Antique light aqua blue canning jar with gray zinc lidAqua Mason’s Patent Nov. 30th 1858
Quart, Shoulder Seal, c. 1890-1915

Antique dark aqua Mason jar with gray zinc lidAqua Mason’s Patent 
Quart,  Shoulder Seal, c.1875-1900
Number of small seeds

Antique Atlas Canning Jar

Antique pale aqua blue Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason canning jar with zinc lidAqua Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason
Quart, Bead or Ledge Seal, c. 1920
Hazel Atlas Company (1902-1964)

Ball Canning Jars

Vintage light blue ball canning jar with zinc lidAqua Ball
Quart, Shoulder Seal, c.1900-1910
“Triple L”  Large Seeds

antique aqua ball canning jar with gray metal lidAqua Ball Mason
1/2 Gallon, Shoulder Seal, c. 1910-1923

Vintage darker aqua Ball Perfect Mason canning jar with zinc lidAqua Ball Perfect Mason
1/2 Gallon, Bead or Ledge Shoulder, c. 1923-1933

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Lightning Seal Canning Jars

Antique aqua lightning canning jar with metal closure
Lightning Registered U.S. Patent Filed
Pint, “Putnam” embossed on bottom

aqua ball canning jar pint size with metal closure
Aqua Ball Ideal
Pint, Lightning Seal, c. 1900-1910
Triple L

half pint ball canning jar
Ball Ideal
1/2 Pint, Clear, Lightning Seal, c.

antique atlas lightning style canning jar with metal closure
Atlas E-Z Seal
Quart, Clear, Lightning Seal, C.

atlas canning jar pint size
Aqua Atlas E-Z Seal
1/2 Pint, Lightning Seal, c. 1900-1925
Hazel Atlas Company (1902-1964)

Miscellaneous Canning Jars

Clear glass Presto canning jar
Clear Presto Wide Mouth Canning Jar
Quart, Bead or Ledge Closure

vintage presto canning jar lid
Presto Lid

Vintage Hazel Atlas Brand Clear glass canning jar
Clear Embossed Canning Jar
Quart, Hazel Atlas Company (1902-1964)

vintage clear glass canning jars
Unmarked Clear Square Jars
Pint, Decorative Embossing
$10-12.00 each

milk glass lined zinc canning jar lids
Zinc and Milk Glass Lids
$2-3 each

vintage enamelware canning jar funnel
Enamelware Canning Jar Funnel

Home Storage of Vegetables and Fruits
Home Storage of Vegetables and Fruits

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