I spent some time doing volunteer work on a project at the Indiana State Archives today. The intent of the project was to help the Indiana State Archives fulfill its role as the permanent repository for official records of state and local government in Indiana by reducing processing backlogs and rescuing historical papers at risk from the spoilage of time and the environment. Last year I played a small part in helping index and preserving historical business documents from the 1800's and early 1900's. The project this year was basic clerical/conservation work on similar documents. The Archives now has a computer database set up for this project for eventual online access, and some of the other volunteers worked on data entry of the first corporations that were processed. There was a very good turnout of about 30 volunteers who showed up to work on this project. This project was also meant to introduce people to an area of the Indiana State government that citizens don't typically know a lot about, but which relies heavily on volunteer efforts. Alan January, Development Director, arranged tours and talks for the volunteers with the folks in the Archives and their conservation lab. As a side benefit, I was able to do some basic research on several glass companies that incorporated in Indiana. The articles of incorporation are available for public viewing for companies that have been out of business for a long period of time. I was able to hold in my hands the original articles of incorporation of the Ball Glass Works in Muncie, Indiana on February 6th, 1888. This is a very historic document in Ball jar history! Other companies that I looked up included: Summitville Glass Company, Hoosier Glass Sand Co., Port Glass Works of Muncie, Muncie Glass Co. and Muncie Brewing Co. I will have to make a few return trips for other companies!
Gee, has it really been 3 years since I have been blogging on this site? We will have to fix that! It's Groundhog Day, and this was one of those rare times that Punxsutawney Phil says an early Spring is coming. Hard to believe with the Snowy and Icy weather that we have been having. Folks farther north of central Indiana have been giving funny names to the snowy and extra harsh Winter of 2011, names such as Snowmageddon and SnowlyCow. It's a true blizzard around Chicago and Northern Indiana. There is about an inch of ice on the ground here in the Indianapolis area. You could say that the Ice-olation (staying at home because of the dangerous roads) prompted and enabled me to get back to doing some maintenance here. So, it's not all bad! More updates soon.
Wow, four days of not having a working furnace in January in Indiana is not fun! The wood burning fireplace sure has been busy the last several days. Speaking of busy, there have been many additions to The Library. A nearly complete set of all of Australia's bottle magazines has been acquired. Also a complete set of all the bottle magazines published in Canada has been added. Timing is everything, and I was lucky to be able to make all of the purchases that put these sets together. Many bottle books will be added in the near future. More changes and more frequent updates coming soon. Oh, and the Muncie Winter Show & Sale was a blast. A good time was had by all. Take a peek at the event pictures on the Midwest Antique Fruit Jar
& Bottle Club's website.
It's a cold and rainy day here in central Indiana, which makes it a good opportunity for watching football on TV and simultaneously playing on the computer!
A new area called "Research Projects" has been added to the main menu. One project is the study of all of the Ball Blue Books (canning guides with recipes). Almost the entire set is there to view. Another project is the collection of Ball canning literature. I will be adding a few more pictures to both of these projects soon. Also look for more changes to this site - the Fall season and cooler weather is
upon us again here in the Midwest. The logs are burning in the fireplace and the laptop and camera and scanner are ready to go.
I just came back from a trip on Saturday to Canada to purchase an example of #195-1 (BALL BBGMCo FRUIT JAR) from a Canadian jar collector. I now have two of these jars, but with different mold numbers (2 and 7). This fellow had seen the "want list" advertisement on my website. The weather was wonderful (mid 70's F) and a very pretty drive (lots of sunshine and green Spring scenery). It was one long trip (360 miles, 5 and 1/2 hours) alone on Interstate 69 from Indianapolis to Port Huron, Mich. From there I popped over the border into Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Border Patrol was real friendly, but a little more than curious why I was carrying so much cash and only going to spend about a half an hour at their Visitor's Center and drive right back to the States. I was honest and maybe offered too much information about my trip. They decided to search my truck, and make me go into their office and verify my Passport / Citizenship details. No real hassle, and the folks were just doing their job, and as I said all of them were friendly. I made my way from there on to the Visitor's Center a short distance down the road and met my new Canadian jar collector friend. He had traveled about 4 and a half hours to meet me there (we split the total distance). I had already seen pictures of the jar and talked to him on the telephone several times. No surprises - the jar was the real deal when I examined it in person. We chatted a while and then went our separate ways. I hope to keep in touch with him - a real nice fellow, eh. I had less difficulty getting back into the States, but there was a longer line of traffic to wait through. I told the U.S. Customs person my buying trip story. He was satisified with my answers to his questions and let me pass after judging me to be an honest law-abiding person. They do ask several questions to see if your story is consistent. From there I went on to visit another collecting friend, Mr. Mason Bright of Monroe, Mich. I had called Mason a few days before to make arrangements to spend the night and see his collection ("the largest Ball jar collection" there is). I knew Mason from the Muncie Jar Shows, and he is a super nice guy. Mason has been collecting Ball jars since 1984 and has almost one of everything. It was a real treat to be able to spend time with him and his wife Nancy. I took a few pictures and vowed to make a return trip to study more of the items in his collection. A Ball jar researcher could spend a lot of time at Mason's place. He has a large full-size basement with tables and chairs and plenty of space and walls of jars. I headed back home Sunday afternoon, so I could make the whole trip during daylight. I still haven't come down from my "fruit jar high". What a special trip this was - in more ways than one!
I have been spending a lot of energy submitting stuff to the new Ball Jar Community site. If you have any
interest in Ball-made jars then that site is definitely worth checking out! My attention is returning back
to home base now. Look for more content to be added soon. This site will be an encyclopedia of
Indiana fruit jars and related historical items. By the way, the summer Muncie Jar Show and Sale
is coming up soon
(July 8th). As usual, I will have a sales table there and will do an educational display. This is
always a great opportunity for fun and fellowship!
The excitement is building! Less than 2 days away from the start of the action
at the Muncie, Indiana Show! Details are at the club's website. It's
going to be even more special this year, since almost all dealers and many attendees
will be staying on the 1st floor of the hotel. See you there!
Check out this new website, the Ball Jar Collectors Community. The goal is to get a picture of every known Ball jar. This is a very worthwhile effort and will serve as a good up-to-date reference. Consider making your own contributions!
Winter has boldly announced its arrival here in the midwest. The temperature has dropped considerably, and we have had our first real snow. What does this mean to you? It means I am back at my computer desk busily working on some new pictures and articles for this website!
There was a local newspaper article this weekend about my humble antique jar collection...
Click here to read.
There was another article about Rev. Phil Robinson's Jar Museum in Muncie, IN...
Click here to read.
The reporter got in touch as a result of our semi-annual bottle/jar collecting show in Muncie, IN at the Horizon Convention Center the previous weekend. I always have a sales table and do an exhibit. I am also editor of our club's newsletter.
As of today this website is being powered by a new Internet Service Provider (sorry if you experienced intermittent downtime while I transferred everything). More disk space, greater bandwith, and lots of programming options. One of the main reasons I changed was so that I could do more techno geek stuff behind the scenes (like having a database for instance). I made a New Year's resolution to put more goodies on the website. It's really more fun than it is work.
Wow, another fantastic winter jar show in Muncie, IN this year (Jan. 8th). People came from all over the U.S. (and some from Canada) to participate in the room-hopping (Hotel Roberts room sales) and fruit jar get-together and actual show day (sales tables and exhibits in the Horizon convention center). Father Patrick Wilhelm brought a complete set of "upside down" embossed Ball jars to share with everyone during show-and-tell at the fruit jar get-together. If you collect Ball jars, you know these are pretty scarce and unusual (and even more unusual that one person would have an example of all of them!). I brought my BALL BBGMCo FRUIT JAR to proudly share (this is one of the very first jars made by Ball Brothers in the mid 1880s, and less than a dozen are known to survive). I also drug along my entire Ball Pressure Cooker collection (nine different cookers) as an exhibit at the show. If nothing else, I figured I would win the unofficial award of "heaviest" exhibit, but I was super lucky and really did win the "People's Choice" award by vote. The number of displays was up this year and competition was tough. People who attend the show always have nice things to say about all of the exhibits. If you have never exhibited before, you really should think about it, because it's a great chance to share your passion and collecting efforts with others. The attendees really do appreciate it. Check out some pictures of the great displays on the MAFJBC website.
I think it would be cool some day to open an Indiana fruit jar museum (maybe when I retire!). This little website is the seed that I am planting in hopes that it will grow towards that goal. My jar collection right now is small compared to all the veteran collectors out there, but keep checking back and watch it grow over time! I am starting to create a catalog of all of the Indiana jars. My first goal will be to share pictures of all of the major Indiana jar varieties.
Lots of goodies coming up soon. The format of this website is changing regularly right now. I apologize for the state of flux if you have been visiting lately. I am hoping to publish more information for all of you Internet savvy fruit jar collectors and potential new collectors! My specialty is Indiana jars and go-withs ("go with" is a term referring to any canning-related item that "goes with" collecting jars). Jars from Indiana were made by companies such as Ball Brothers (Ball Mason), Greenfield Fruit Jar & Bottle Co. (Boyd Perfect Mason), Patterson Glass Co. (The Leader), Muncie Glass Co. (Boldt Mason), Red Key (Red Key Mason), Swayzee (Swayzee Mason), Port Glass Co. (Port Mason), Root Glass Co. (Root Mason), Fairmount Glass Co. (FGCo), Marion Fruit Jar & Bottle Co. (MFJCo), Nelson Glass Co. (Safety), Star Glass Co. (Star Glass Co. New Albany, Ind), and Hemingray (Globe). The words in parentheses represent what you might see embossed on the jar - there are many variations of the wording. This is not a complete listing of all of the Indiana jar companies, but it does represent the majority and gives you a starting point in what to look for. Collecting jars made by Ball is very popular, because they were the largest and longest lasting jar manufacturer of all time. They made many different styles of jars over the course of about 100 years! Most of their jars are easily affordable to all collectors, but it takes a lot of patience and determination to find some of the Ball jars.
Dick Sorensen's comprehensive list of Ball salt and pepper shakers has been added in the Ball Brothers section.
New low price on Red Book 9 - Collector's Guide to Old Fruit Jars, $17.00. The contents of this website will be expanding. Look over the new sections titled "Ball Brothers" (exclusively about collecting Ball jars and company related items) and "Getting Started" (info for the person just getting started collecting fruit jars and canning jars).
Lots more magazines added to the library. Thanks to all of you who are helping out. Also, I have recently become a dealer for Red Book 9 from Doug Leybourne. I am selling them close to my cost, so that I can offer these cheaply to others. Maybe we can attract a whole bunch of new jar collectors! Contact me if you want a copy ($19.50 plus shipping), or look for them in my eBay auctions (handle is "leaderjar"), or head on over to this website: www.redbookfruitjars.com
Just came back from the monthly meeting of the MAFJBC. Yours truly is club Secretary, which means taking detailed notes to put in the newsletter. This month Phil Robinson brought in an item that generated some buzz from the Ball collectors. Phil came across a dozen metal lids which appear to be made by Ball and have not previously been reported. I was able to purchase one. Click here to see a picture.
Kalamazoo, MI show report. There was a good representation of fruit jars at this show, and many hobby supporters were there with sales tables. Jerry McCann had a prime location by the entrance to the show. His latest Fruit Jar Annual and other research books were available. He also had a very nice set of the Kerr Bicentennial bell-shaped jars for sale (red, white, blue, and green!) along with an original letter from Alex Kerr. I bought a stack of old Australian and British bottle magazines for a very fair price to add to my library. Don Burkett and Tom Caniff had tables next to each other. Don had an array of older Ball jars in nice colors. Tom had several interesting product jars and foreign jars. I bought a Bismark Olives Ball Mason product jar here. Doug Leybourne was there with a wide variety of jars and miscellaneous lids and caps. Of course, his Red Book was available too. I bought a bargain box full of jar ring boxes and caps for an extremely reasonable price. I’m just getting started on collecting this category of go-withs. Jim Sears had a nice “Crowleytown” Mason with original cap for sale. He also had several colored Mason’s Patent Nov. 30TH 1858’s. Mason Bright’s table was filled with a good selection of unusual Ball jars. There was a Ball Perfect Mason with dual line embossing, and a Ball Ideal test run jar made in milkglass. I bought a box of old Ball letterhead and plant site photos here. I also ran into John and Pat VanDyke (Vice President of the Jelly Jammers club) while I was there. They were just checking out the show since they lived nearby. I had a good time talking about jar collecting with all these folks, and I made a few additions to my collection. It was worth the 3 ½ hour drive. I made it all the way there on adrenaline and anticipation, and I made it all the way back on coffee and thoughts about the fun I had during the afternoon. It’s always fun to go to bottle shows because you never know who you will meet or what you will find.
Jeff Harper was very kind to share his pictures of Ball pamphlets that I do not own. I have posted his pictures in the Go-withs section. I haven't been able to produce the desired results with the "light tent" that I purchased for taking glass pictures. I may have to temporarily revert back to taking jar pictures in natural light in front of my window for now. If anyone has any tips on properly using a light tent for taking glass item pictures, please let me know, because I'm "in the dark".
Several more Ball Blue books added, plus several Ball pamphlets and Ball miscellaneous items added in Go-withs. Also included more Kerr items.Want list updated too.
I'm in the process of building a small studio for glass photography. Within the next week you should see some professional quality pictures show up on this website. I will be able to take more pictures than usual, because I will not be limited to taking pictures just when there is daylight (which for me typically means only on the weekend, because I have a full-time job).
Made several additions to the Library page. Added pictures of fruit jar postcards on the Go-withs page. My want list has a few more items!
Bad News. It looks like the Muncie January Show has been canceled due to weather-related emergency conditions. Full stories here: Muncie Star News, and Indianapolis Star. "Much of East Central Indiana was devastated today by a major ice storm that left 105,400 customers without power in six counties." Click here for Roberts Hotel contact information. Check the club website for an official announcement.
Happy New Year! One of my resolutions is to post more jar pictures! Keeping checking back...
Top Ten Reasons Why People Attend the Muncie Jar Show:
10) you have some affiliation with the grave digging business (sorry, you had to attend the last show to understand this one).
9) it's one of the few places you can mingle with HEROs, VETERANs, KINGs, QUEENs, LEADERs, PRINCESSes, DICTATORs, PROTECTORs and other ROYALs.
8) you think it is going to be a family reunion of the MASONs.
7) you're a comedian and like to share Goofus material with other comedians.
6) you're an upscale Beverly Hills craftsperson and need some higher quality jars to make into candles and lamps.
5) you know it's a place that Lightning strikes again and again in many wonderful colors.
4) you loved 1960's music and believe that the Ball Brothers are playing as a tribute band to the Righteous Brothers.
3) you heard that there is an abundant supply of 42oz. Ball Perfect Mason's with their original moonshine contents.
2) you want to take your kids, because you think the "Jumbo" attraction is an elephant ride.
1) everybody knows that show host Norm Barnett delivers more one-liners than David Letterman.
It's about that time again for the biggest and best fruit jar show of the year! Have fun and meet lots of people. Maybe fill in some holes in your collection or sell a few jars. Click here for more details.
More Ball Books added. More jar books and magazines listed. My want list has been updated. I am starting to list some items for sale. Your feedback is always encouraged for improvements to this little piece of fruit jar fun on the Internet! Get ready for some big website changes - a new look is in the works!
More goodies listed in the Library. Almost all of the books have pictures now. Many new auction catalogs and a few magazines. I have many duplicate Old Bottle Magazines to sell or trade if anyone is interested.
Several Ball Blue Books added to the list in Go-withs, including one of the very early ones.
Lots of pictures added in the Library and Go-withs!
I made a trip yesterday (for the first time) to the Holy Grail of fruit jar research. The Ball State University library in Muncie, IN has an area called Archives and Special Collections. Housed in the Special Collections is all of the research material that belonged to Dick Roller. There are over 40 boxes (yes, you read that right - boxes!) of research material in this collection. I was in awe as I sat there and looked at the very same material that Dick Roller had collected and used in his research. I've got the fruit jar bug worse than ever now. An overview of the material is available online.
The unlisted jars that I brought to Doug at the Muncie July Show were: Pomona Immerser Fruit Jar HG aqua, B.B.Wilcox QT aqua Mold Number 16, Newmark Special Extra Mason Jar (with fleur-de-lis) PT pale green, and Irvine & Stevenson's Jams 2lbs nett St. George Trade Mark Preserving Works Dunedin N.Z. apple green approx. PT size.
Wow, I was totally exhausted after the Muncie Jar Show. This was my first time to attend a jar (or bottle) show, and it was great. The best part was meeting so many friendly and interesting people that collect fruit jars and go-withs. There's more to the Muncie show than just the show day itself. One of the unique characteristics of this show is the room-hopping that occurs at the Hotel Roberts just across the street from the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, IN. Dealers arrive early (Thursday or Friday) and setup stuff for sale in their hotel rooms. The receptionist at the hotel front desk can give you a list of the rooms that are participating. There are nice big signs outside each of the dealer's hotel rooms so you can easily tell where to go, and if anyone is "home" the door will be open and you just walk right in to see whats available. Of course, this is a great time to socialize and maybe find something before the show actually begins. My friend Jean Harbron and I started room-hopping on Friday evening. Jean is a fellow MAFJBC club member, and she helped introduce me to people, since she has been collecting for a while. I got to meet Doug Leybourne, Jim Sears, Don and Glennie Burkett, and Phil Smith among others that Friday evening. Saturday morning was the Jelly Jammers meeting in the hotel auditorium. Jean and I started early in order to make it to this event. I got a chance to meet several more nice people, including Margaret Bradshaw, the President of the club. Of course, I had to buy a copy of the Jelly reference book, and I was recruited to become a club member of the Jelly Jammers. They put out a good quarterly journal with detailed jelly glass reference material. The next event was the Fruit Jar Get-together which started off with a show-and-tell and ended with a small auction. During the show-and-tell everyone in attendence got a chance to introduce themselves and talk about any jars they brought with them for others to see. The show-and-tell jars were placed on a table so that everyone could get a chance to walk by and see them up close. I brought a half pint Ball Perfect Mason in Ball blue with a product label for Pure Olive Oil from Wolgamot's Rexall Drug Store in OH. I also brought a Ball 3L Mason with an Unrivaled Baking Powder product label from Warner Sprague & Co. After each person introduced themselves and did their show-and-tell they got a chance to talk about any item that they were putting into the auction. I didn't bring any auction items, but several people did. The auction didn't last too long as there were not very many items to be sold. Some people donated jars with the proceeds to go to the club. Jean and I took a break for lunch and came back to do some more room-hopping. This time around I got to meet Tom and Deena Caniff, Jerry McCann, Mason Bright, and Wayne and June Lowry. I made another trip back to Doug Leybourne's room in order to report some unlisted jars for the next edition of the Red Book, which is supposed to come out in 2006. Sunday was the capstone day. I had to get up real early and arrive at the convention center by 6:30am (this is early for me since I don't normally get up before 7am, and I had to drive an hour from my house to get there). This is the time that you get to setup your display if you are doing one. Jean and I created a display entitled "Books of Our Hobby". I didn't realize how much work went into properly planning and setting up a good display. Jean did a great job of helping me and showing me the ropes (she has done displays before). I supplied the idea and nearly all the books. The hard work paid off because we won the "Most Educational" award at the end of the day when the votes were tallied. There were two awards that other exhibitor's won for "Dealer's Choice" and "People's Choice". Check out the club website for pictures of all the displays. Everybody who entered a display got a nice pottery crock with the club name and event year on them. An advantage of doing a display is that once you are done setting up, you have a chance to shop before the doors open to the public. I was doing my own sales table, and doing the display didn't leave me much time to get my sales table ready (dealers could start setting up at 7am). I had to make a few trips to my truck to get boxes of jars and unload them. I was pricing jars right up until the moment the doors opened at 9am to the public. This was a lesson learned for next time - be prepared before you get there! I priced my "extra" jars right and sold most of the nicer ones before the doors opened. It was quite a sight to see the crowd rush in as the doors opened at 9am. It was like the flood gates had opened. I sold several more jars and go-withs throughout the day. I got to meet and talk to many people that were shopping. The thing that sticks out most in my mind is all the really friendly and helpful people, both visitors and dealers. After the show shut down at 3pm and everything was packed away, we had to make a trip to Phil Robinson's Museum there in Muncie on Cowing Dr. This was the final "unofficial" event for us that day. Phil's museum is just now back in business after getting a zoning variance from the city. Several people from the show were there when we arrived. Phil has over 4,000 jars on display, and he is happy to share them with you and tell you about them. Phil also has some jars for sale, and you never know what you might find. I've bought several Ball special-run commemorative jars from him at a fair price. Phil is a fellow MFJBC club member, and he has been very helpful to me as a new collector learning this hobby. Our trip to Phil's wrapped up the day, and we headed out of Muncie exhausted and happy. I can't wait until the next show...
I'll be at the Muncie Show on July 11th. I will have a sales table. Hope to meet you there!
I've scanned in pictures of all my Ball Blue Books! Check them out in the Go-withs section.
I found a little time this weekend to add more items to the Library and Go-withs section. I will be adding pictures for all of these listings in the near future. I have tons of additional stuff to add to this website, so stay tuned.
Many updates to the web site today! It was a rainy day here in Fishers, Indiana (on the outskirt of Indianapolis), and I wasn't committed to any other appointments or chores. There are several new additions to the Library section and Wanted section. I have added a listing of all of my Ball Blue Books to the Go-withs section. Enjoy, and please send me a note with your thoughts!
Several people have asked me why I chose the website domain name to be leaderjar. If you guessed that it is because my most favorite jar is the "The Leader" you would be correct! I feel a particular connection to jars made in Delaware county, Indiana, since I have several generations of ancestors that have lived (and preserved food!) there. Another part-time hobby for me is family genealogy. I am finding that some of the same research tools and techniques apply to digging up fruit jar history.
Welcome to my new web site! I created this site to share with others the enjoyment that I am having with my new hobby. I started collecting antique fruit jars in November of 2003. One evening, as I was unpacking a few boxes of personal belongings, I re-discovered some old Ball jars that I had saved from childhood. The distinctive blue jars brought back memories of helping my paternal grandmother pitting cherries for home canning, and of helping my maternal grandmother snap green beans for home canning (I also remember her preserving jelly made from grapes and raspberries which grew on her property - yum yum!). Being the curious person that I am, I jumped on the Internet to see what I could find out about these old jars. It didn’t take long to see that many people collect these antique jars for fun (and profit), and that it was a hobby unto itself. After a few more minutes on the information superhighway, I found that there was a jar club in Muncie, Indiana, which is less than an hour’s drive from my home. I sent an email to Junne Barnett inquiring about joining the Midwest Antique Fruit Jar & Bottle Club and was greeted with a friendly welcome and an invitation to show up at their next meeting (and by the way, a special thanks to Dick Cole for maintaining the club web site which I found through a Google keyword search). It was the spirit of friendliness and willingness to share exhibited by everyone at that club meeting that spurred my interest in actively participating in this hobby.