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The Fascination with Mason Jars: Once Frugal, Now Fashionable

Image credit: The Atlantic

Image credit: The Atlantic

What does a Mason Jar represent to you? Depending on your personal experience, you might look at it as a traditional vessel for preserving the best of summer’s bounty to savor during the leaner, colder months ahead. Or, you may be more familiar with the Mason Jar’s new incarnation as a trendy drinking glass lending an old-timey flair to today’s bars and restaurants. In either case, it’s likely you may not know the unique history of this ubiquitous jar and its relationship to American food traditions.


The Mason Jar was invented in 1858 by John Landis Mason, who added a twist upon the popular canning processes of the time by including a “ribbed neck and a screw-on cap that created an airtight seal” according to a recent article in The Atlantic. The use of transparent glass also made it easier to see the contents of the jar, which was of course ideal for canning. Before refrigeration became commonplace, this was the primary way in which many Americans preserved food after the harvest was over. Refrigeration and the rise of convenient plastic storage containers such as Tupperware changed the picture not long after World War II, and it was only in the 1960s and 1970s, perhaps in response to the explosion of convenience food, that the iconic jar experienced a resurgence among people interested in living more natural lifestyles.


Fast-forward to today, and we can now see that the Mason Jar is experiencing another comeback. Amidst the boom in organic food and a growing farm-to-table movement, people are very interested in knowing the origin and the provenance of the food that they eat—whether it’s locally and ethically sourced, for example. The Mason Jar fits very well into this trend since glass, after all, does not pose the health concerns that some plastics may present. It’s become a popular drinking vessel for beer or moonshine, and you can even find Mason Jar glasses with stems as wine glasses in some establishments. Responding to the jar’s growing popularity, the Ball Corporation has even re-issued a series of its famous canning jars with tinted blue glass. Thus, the Mason Jar has become a bit of a hipster icon, symbolizing something perhaps more fashionable than frugal in the present day.


America’s renewed fascination with the Mason Jar goes beyond a simple fashion statement, however. Its multipurpose usability lends it to any number of projects or purposes. Search for ‘Mason Jar’ on Pinterest and you’ll find any number of DIY ideas for creating Mason Jar decorations, holiday gifts, lamps, sewing kits, terrariums, and more. Mason Jar salads, with their colorful tiers of different ingredients stacked neatly upon one another, are popular as well. People are now using Mason Jars to express their creativity and ingenuity, which draws a nice link back to the original inventive purpose of canning and preserving summer fruits and vegetables.


Of course, this creativity can be applied to branding initiatives as well. Whether you’ve already got something in mind, or are wondering how Mason Jars or another style of promotional product could represent your brand, we’ve got solutions for you. Give us a shout via Twitter or Facebook or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be happy to advise you on how best to realize your goals!