Telling the age of your Ball fruit jars

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how fruit jars first got started. After many of you read that article, the question came up about how to tell the date of your fruit jars. Today, I will tell you how to date your Ball fruit jars, but first let me refresh your memory on the birth of the fruit jars.

In 1795, the French wanted to feed their armies in the field. They offered a $4,000 reward to anyone that could help them. A French chef, Nicholas Appert, started working on this process, and some 15 years later in 1820, he came up with the idea of cooking food and putting the food in crock containers and pressuring it. This was the start of canning food for later use.

Now, let’s move on to dating your Ball fruit jars. The word ball is written differently on jars, and this is how you date them. Look at the diagram, and it will be easy for you to date you jar. If your fruit jar is square, no matter who made it, the jar was made in 1942. The United States government made jar makers adopts this design because of the war. The U.S. War Board said the square shape would save glass.

I have many different fruit jars at my museum along with some of the first jars that were made out of crock and not glass. For more information on Louisiana Treasures Museum or to schedule group tours or visits call me at 225-294-8352.

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.