Friday, July 11, 2008

Old canning jars

I'm still working on clearing out the "junk room" in the upstairs of our old house. I've really been dragging my feet on the closet-full of canning jars; I recall buying so many cases of them when money was truly tight. They seemed like a treasure to me at the time, and I proudly filled them with peaches, green beans, tomatoes, blackberries, and jams and jellies of all flavors.

In my older age, I grew weary of the whole gardening-and-canning process; I ended up throwing so much stuff away because it got old before Cliff and I used it. And the truth is, it just isn't fun any more.

But I kept my jars. A whole closet full of boxes and boxes of canning jars.

I resolved to give them all away; after all, I don't think I want to do much canning in the future.

Then I thought about the way prices are rising and decided to keep half of them.

As my sister-in-law, Rena, and I began hauling them to Cliff's shop, he figured we'd better keep them. After all, we may have to garden and can to survive.

But when he saw how many I had, he hollered "uncle" and said, "We have plenty; give the rest away."

I agreed, but there were certain jars I had inherited from my mother with which I cannot part.

The beautiful blue jars. I assumed they were all identical, but then I looked at the bottoms and saw different numbers and letters on them:

There's an underlined 9, an underlined G or 6, and a couple of zeros. All of this means something to a collector, I'm not sure what; the information I got from Google is limited.

Those seams down either side also date the jars somehow; if I understood what I read, I think it means they were made before 1937. But I might be wrong.

See the seams?

Oh, and the delightful flaws in these old jars. I'm not sure how well it will show up in the pictures, but there are bubbles in the glass!

Now for a special treasure....

Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason!

It has even MORE bubbles in the glass; I'm assuming it's the oldest of the lot.

But what makes these jars special for me is knowing my mother used them for years before passing them on to me; maybe my Grandma even used them! I have used them all, not even thinking about their possible worth. (Their worth isn't really all that much, by the way: Anywhere from $5 to $25, best I can determine.)

So, now that you know I can't part with them, do you have any suggestions for their use?

Somebody just shoot me.

Added later: I found an informative article with a chart which explains how to date Ball jars by the way the logo is made. Click HERE and scroll to the bottom.


  1. No way would I ever get rid of anything that's still useful, so pretty and has so many memories attached to it!

    I love the old blue canning jars. I keep my old marble collection in a couple of mine, complete with the zinc lids with the milk glass inserts. A lot of people use them as canisters for pasta, beans, baking soda, anything pretty or interesting that you're going to store anyway.

    I keep my Grandma's and Mama's buttons in a couple of other old jars

    Just a few thoughts....

    Hope you have a great weekend, Donna. :o)

    Love and hugs,


  2. Anonymous9:30 PM

    Ditto to all that Diane mentioned. I used them for cannisters at one time. And I have marbles in one somewhere in this messy house. I just saw on another blog where someone put their dad's old fishing lures in'll think of the right thing!

    Dee from Tennessee

  3. Anonymous8:16 AM

    I think you should use those lovely jars as flower vases.

  4. Wow, those things are a treasure to folks like me...I remember them from my grandma's days, but I always thought of them as greenish. My grandma kept everything storable in glass jars...beans, rice, flour, rubberbands, tea bags, coffee, nuts, buttons, twist-ties, pastas, dried many things. She was from the Great Depression era, and I guess nothing got wasted :)

  5. How crazy is this...your sister-in-law have the same name, and I LOVE blue jars! I buy them every time I see them. I think it's a sickness.

    I use mine for a lot of bulk products (rice, tea, bread crumbs), I have wine corks in one, I have sand in others...I love them!

    What a treasure you have!

  6. Those are lovely jars. I do hope you find a prominent place for them.

  7. Never could I get rid of treasures like that. It would break my heart. I hope you can find good uses for them. I think I'd just display one on a shelf somewhere.

    Fill one full of treasures you pick up on your walks; an odd shaped stone, a snail shell, whatever.

  8. Anonymous2:01 PM

    I have found a quart blue jar that has on the front "the wide mouth telephone jar" iI cannot find out any thing about it can you help me


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