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How Old is Your Vintage Mason Jar?

I did a little shopping this weekend at some of my favorite antique shops!  And,  look what I found!  These old Ball jars. They are quart sized, blue jars and have sloped shoulders.  Some of the glass is wavy and many have bubbles.   I’ve never seen any quite like this before, so I brought them home.  After doing some research online, I found that these particular Ball jars are probably one of the earlier sets to be manufactured.   So, I thought I would share what I learned that helped me find the age of a vintage mason jar!

Dating an old Ball (or any other fruit jar) can be more difficult than I had thought. I found this chart on Pinterest, which was very helpful. Unfortunately, there was no source for me to credit.


How Old is Your Vintage Mason Jar
The jars that I found have what is known as the “triple L”.  It is the first one in the second row shown in the chart above.  Why “triple L or 3L”?  – because some thought the fancy loop at the end looked like a third L.

dating fruit jars

This site, West Saint Paul Antiques, has wonderful information on dating fruit jars if you would like to find out more about an old jar you may have!  Here’s the section of their site that describes the ones I found.   “About 1895, Ball began using machines (these jars have smooth lips) and began to phase out the old blowing methods. This transition took several years. The machine made jars exhibited a new script style which was never seen on any of their handmade jars. The script style was that of a cursive Ball with an extra loop at the end, known as “3-L” Ball jars. They also continued to make the MASON’S PATENT NOV 30th 1858 jars (machine made smooth lipped varieties) up into the early 1900’s. The very first machine made Ball jar is not positively known, but most likely was either a Ball STANDARD or a Ball IMPROVED MASON. This script style was used up until about 1910. Ball produced many jars with this script style, the Ball MASON jars and ones with just Ball and no other embossing appeared right about the turn of the century. (3-L jars c1896-1910)”

about my vintage ball jars

So, I’m pretty confident that these jars do date to c1896 – 1910, which makes sense because one thing that drew me to them were the awesome bubbles and waves in the glass.  And, each jar is slightly unique in placement of the raised lettering – which would indicate that they are not machine made.  All of the jars I found have zinc lids with the milk glass inside. Some of the zinc lids have Ball embossed on them, but others are just plain.

I hope that the information is helpful to you!  If you have any old mason jars, the Ball brand like mine or any other, why not do some research online to find out their age!  I found the information fascinating!  

Here are a few more posts you might like!

Shannan Bunch

Thursday 5th of May 2022

Lovely Thank You

Janice Jones

Friday 6th of November 2020

I have a number 12 no underscore ball isnt underlined color green do you the value

Doreen Cagno

Thursday 12th of November 2020

I'm sorry, but I don't.

Adrienne Tarnoczy

Sunday 10th of May 2020

My jar has no name or markings. There are bubbles in the glass and line marks on the sides. There are no marks on the lid or insert inside. I holds 3 quarts of water. Can you tell what it is? Thank you Adrienne

Doreen Cagno

Wednesday 13th of May 2020

I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer.


Sunday 26th of January 2020

I have an antique canning jar that holds almost 8 cups that I think might be rare because I have searched online and Ebay and have never seen one like it. It is round, clear glass, wider circumference at the bottom and the narrower top will fit a regular mouth lid. But, the unusual thing about it is the LOGO. Written across diagonally, the logo says "Standard" in cursive writing and below it, also diagonally, it has what looks sort of like a banner with the word MASON (all in capital letters) written within the banner.

Would you know 1) how old this jar is, 2) maybe the value if you know it and 3) if it has lead in it? I would like to store cold juice or leftover liquid coffee in it, if it has no lead in it. Thank you so much for your time and knowledge.

Lori Waddell

Thursday 24th of February 2022

Hi. I know this thread was a few years ago, but are familiar with the Ball jar with the “MASON” being off center from the Ball and PEREFCT! Thank you

Doreen Cagno

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

I'm so sorry, but I can't help with that.


Saturday 11th of January 2020

I have a blue Atlas Mason Quart jar with a sink lid that has bubbles and what appears to be runs in the glass. It says Strong Shoulder but it doesn’t have any kind of a date. I was wondering if perhaps you would possibly know anything about this kind of jar.

Doreen Cagno

Saturday 11th of January 2020

I'm sorry, I dont.