Nicholas Appert was up to Napoleon’s challenge—though his invention was a far cry from the Mason fruit jar that came later.
Appert devised a means to hermetically seal jars, which are just bottles with wider mouths. Interestingly, the heat killed the bacteria in the food product, but at the time people did not know that bacteria was the cause of spoilage.
Additionally, Ball bought out numerous competitors over the years.
For a long time, the ubiquity of Ball jars prevented them from being particularly desirable in the eyes of collectors.
Remember when the mason jar was actually a breakthrough in the American way of life?
How the revolutionary new threaded lid offered an alternative to pickling, drying and smoking as ways to preserve our precious aliments?
They have been in my kitchen now for over a decade and who knows how long they were in my grandparents canning room so I thought today was the day that I scour the internets trying to find some backstory on this wonderful piece of history.
A few years ago, my grandparents gifted me a few of their old Mason Ball jars they had stored in the basement.
The evolution of fruit or canning jars parallels the science of food preservation, which itself was an attempt to address a critical need.
For centuries, rural farmers and the poor struggled to find ways to preserve food for the winter.
By grinding the lip of the glass until it was nearly flat (known as a 'square shoulder') and inserting a simple rubber gasket inside the lid, Mason achieved a sufficiently airtight seal, and his namesake was born.
The Ball Corporation—which also provides funding for the eponymous state university—was among the companies that capitalized on Mason's invention when the patent expired.