Very rare mason jars have recently fetched up to a thousand dollars, while antique ones can be priced for up to a couple of hundreds online.
The interesting part here is, the older they are, the rarer they get, the more expensive they can be.
With the help of two of their brothers, they quickly expanded the glassmaking operation and decided to produce canning jars, for which Mason's patent had expired in 1879.
When Frank heard about the natural gas boom in Indiana in 1886, they decided to relocate to Muncie (the fifth brother, Lucius Lorenzo, was a practicing physician prior to joining his siblings in 1897).
The first products made in Muncie were coal oil containers and lamp chimneys, not fruit jars.
The rest is history: Within three decades, they'd refined their flagship product into the form that is still produced today, and this year marks the centennial of the so-called "Perfect Mason." According to the press release: Introduced in 1913 in Muncie, IN, the name "Perfect Mason" acknowledged the first-ever self-manufacture of each part of the Ball jar—ensuring a perfect fit and revolutionizing the home canning process by providing canners with matching jars, lids and bands in a single unit.
The best known (or at least most SEO-friendly) collector is Bruce Wayne (yep), proprietor of the online resource balljars.net, where he's posted a comprehensive database of his collection, as well as a company history that curiously omits the 1913 milestone.
Then again, that page hasn't been updated since 2010 and—as the marquee on the homepage broadcasts—he hasn't had Internet access "for some time," "only a Smart Phone [sic]." Not that it makes his site any less interesting...
On February 18, fires were started in the furnace, on February 26, the blowers began to arrive and on March 1, the first products were made.Yes, the mason jar certainly harkens back to a simpler time, before refrigerators and artificial preservatives, and now that we take those things for granted, canning has become something of a throwback jam (cue snare)—the vessel once dedicated to keeping and storing foodstuffs is now commonly used as a drinking glass or decorative object.Not that there's anything wrong with that: Unlike, say, the Edison bulb, the design of the mason jar has virtually no room for improvement, and its timelessness is certainly part of its appeal—as an object, it is imbued with nostalgia, thrift and (if you'll excuse another terrible pun) a can-do attitude.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.