how to date your ball jar

In 1880, the five Ball brothers used a $200 loan from their uncle to start a business manufacturing tin cans for products such as paint and kerosene.  Then, in 1884, the brothers switched to glass home-canning jars and created the household name that we still know and love today. 🥰

Ball jars are classic vintage pieces that add so much class to every room! ✨ Not only are they beautiful as décor, but they are genuine pieces of history that bring so much life to a home. Each is unique in its own way!

Ball jars are one of the most sought-after vintage jar brands, so it’s no wonder how fast they go during our Antique Candle Restocks!  Many of the Ball jars that become available as candles during the sale also vary in their production dates.  So, that begs the question:

When was your Ball jar made, friend? 


To answer that, compare the logo of your jar to those on this chart: (from Minnetrista Gathering Place)

You can also use other identifying marks to help date your jar!  Phrases such as “Improved,” “Perfect,” and “Ideal,” give further clues to find the approximate year that your Ball jar was made.

Some helpful things to keep in mind:

  1. Not every jar has their manufacture date, but most do have the patent date. However, this date has no relation to the year your jar was made.
  2. There will be a large number on the bottom of your jar. This is the mold number, and unfortunately, also has no relation to the manufacture date.
  3. These charts tell you the approximate decade in which your Ball jar was made.
  4. Every Ball jar is special, and no matter what decade yours was manufactured, it’ll still look beautiful in your home!

So, will you be lucky enough to snag one of these vintage Ball jars during the next Antique Candle Restock?

Become an email friend to always be the first to know about upcoming Antique Candle Restocks and snag your vintage Ball jar!



  • Carrie McKay

    I have about 50 various jars my mother left to me I’m Intrested in knowing what I have an more about the history if some one could help me . Thank you in advance

  • CIndy DOnahue

    Have a 2 quart mason jar that doesn’t say Ball on it, pale blue, Says Mason then a circle with a jar design in it then Patent nov. 30th 1858. Can you tell me how old and how much it is worth please. No.60 on bottom

  • Brittany

    when did they switch to clear glass instead of blue? We just found a blue jar buried in our yard but the lid isn’t blue

  • Gary McCloud

    Hi, I collect bottles and have an Aqua color Mason Jar that took a screw lid (most likely zinc), the from is embossed " GENUINE MASON" (Genuine over Mason) in block print. On the bottom is a small ring with a 2 in it. I can’t find any info on a similar? Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Lois Licata

    I have two Blue Ball Mason Jars, one says Ideal, Bicentennial A13 and the other says Perfect 9 Blue. I display them next to my fireplace with my Dad’s antique marbles and jack’s game inside and the other with a collection of matches from the olden days.

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