(Image via the New York Times. The photo shows “Part of Douglas M. Leybourne Jr.’s vintage jar collection. In the 19th century, he says, such jars ‘meant survival.’ ”)
"Authenticity, Repurposed, in a Mason Jar"
The New York Times has an article about the returning popularity of home canning, and the parallel interest in vintage and antique canning jars.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“Though the Mason jar has become a symbol of hipness, it started as a necessity. In 1858, John Landis Mason found a way to preserve fruits, vegetables and other perishables when he devised a lid that screwed to the threaded-glass lip of a jar over a rubber ring that sealed previously boiled contents.”
"The jars retained their popularity throughout the early 20th century, with sales spiking during
and World War II, when the federal government urged people to cultivate victory gardens so more food could be allocated for the troops.”
"In the 1950s and ’60s, however, the jars’ market began to fade. ‘That’s when canning took a turn south,’ says Chris Scherzinger, president and chief executive of
Home Brands, based in Daleville, Ind., which currently makes Ball- and Kerr-brand Mason jars. The culprit was refrigeration and the new value placed on mass-produced food. The rise of grocery products like Tang, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and TV dinners threatened to extinguish the canning tradition and take down the Mason jar industry as well.”
"The turning point in the recent history of the Mason jar was the start of the recession in 2008. ‘People stay home,’ Mr. Scherzinger says of that time. ‘They don’t go out as much. They kind of go back to what the core of their roots are.’ At the same time, an aversion to processed food was intensifying. More people became focused on self-sufficiency."
The Natural Canning Resource Book: A guide to home canning with locally-grown, sustainably-produced and fair-trade foods, (c) 2010.