Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company

Ball Bros. Glass Manufacturing Company (1880-1922)

Ball Bros. Company (1922-1969)

Ball Corporation (1969-to date)

Buffalo, New York (1880-1888)

Muncie, Indiana (1888-1998)  

Last glass produced at Muncie was in 1962.

Ball cursive mark

Ball cursive mark – embossing as seen on clear glass “Ball Perfect Mason” jar

 

Ball Bros Manufacturing Company/Ball Bros Company (Ball Corporation after 1969), Muncie, Indiana (1888-1998)  with other glass manufacturing facilities including Sapulpa, Oklahoma;  Okmulgee, Oklahoma (1927) ; Huntington, West Virginia;  Hillsboro/Schram City, Illinois (former Schram Glass Manufacturing Company plant, purchased in 1925);  Noblesville, Indiana  and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Originally located in Buffalo, New York,  this company relocated to Muncie in 1888 as a result of the natural gas boom in Indiana of the 1880s.  Ball rapidly increased their glass production after the move, and was soon churning out tremendous numbers of glass fruit jars of all types at their Macedonia Avenue location in the south end of Muncie.   A number of separate buildings covered the grounds of the facility at the height of their glass production.   (Incidentally, the main Ball Bros. plant, and business offices were located near the Hemingray Glass Company plant, prolific maker of glass electrical insulators. Hemingray’s factory was  located virtually across the street, also on Macedonia Ave.).

Ball was the best-known fruit jar (canning jar) manufacturer in the world, but also made a huge variety of other glass containers for the packaging industry during it’s long history. (See this page on Ball Perfect Mason jars).

Many jars that have been made by Ball over the years might be termed “generic” jars, that is, all types of plain, unlettered glass jars purchased by food and other companies to contain their products to be sold in retail stores.  Many of these generic “packer jars” carried the cursive “Ball” logo on the bottom.

The majority of marked containers carry the name “Ball” embossed in cursive script, although some fruit jars made during certain periods of time also had the name in simple, block letters.

Glass-making ended at the Muncie plant in 1962, but production continued at other Ball factories.  In 1988 as a result of their merger with Indianhead Container Corporation, Ball-InCon Glass Packaging Corporation was formed and the “Ball” in script was discontinued on their packer ware.   (See “B I” mark used c.1988-1994).   Ball-InCon became Ball Glass Container Corporation in 1994, and the cursive script “B” mark was then used for about a year (see illustration on page one of the Bottle Marks pages).  In 1995, Ball-Foster Container Corporation was formed, with Ball owning 42% and Saint-Gobain owning 58% of assets (which included Saint-Gobain’s acquisition of Foster-Forbes Glass Company at that time) in the merger.  The mark “BF” was then used, 1995-2000.

Ball Bros Plaque - Muncie, Indiana - picture taken Sept 4, 2011.

Ball Brothers Plaque – Muncie, Indiana (Picture taken Sept 4, 2011)

 

Ball Brothers plaque, side two- Muncie, Indiana

Ball Bros. plaque, side 2, Muncie, Indiana (9-4-2011)

In 1996 Ball sold its interest in it’s remaining glass plants to Saint-Gobain and left the glass business altogether to pursue other industries. Many of the former Ball glass plants are now part of Saint-Gobain Container Corporation (subsidiary of Saint-Gobain), now called Verallia .   Their current products (as of 2014) may be found with the “SG” mark, in use since 2000.  

According to information on the Verallia site, currently there are 13 (Verallia) glass container manufacturing plants operating in the United States. They are located at: Dunkirk, Indiana (operation dating from 1889) ; Port Allegany, Pennsylvania (1900); Sapulpa, Oklahoma (1913); Seattle, Washington (1931); Lincoln, Illinois (1942); Dolton, Illinois (1954); Henderson, North Carolina (1960); Burlington, Wisconsin (1965); Ruston, Louisiana (1968); Madera, California (1970); Millford, Massachusetts (1973); Wilson, North Carolina (1977) and Pevely, Missouri (1981).

Ball Corporation headquarters were moved from Muncie to Broomfield, Colorado in 1998.   Ball Corporation is still in existence (2014) but has greatly expanded into involvement in the production of various non-glass packaging products (metal food, beverage, aerosal cans), and a wide range of products connected with the high-tech aerospace industry. Their website is: www.ball.com .

NOTE: New clear glass fruit jars embossed “Ball” being sold currently(2013)  are reportedly made by the Anchor Glass Container Corporation at their plant in Winchester, IN (and possibly also by other unnamed glass manufacturers here in the US;  if you have info on other manufacturers, please contact me)  for Jarden Corporation – their Home products division, Daleville, Indiana, (formerly known as the Alltrista Corporation, name changed in 2002).   Jarden now owns the rights to the “Ball” , “Kerr” and “Bernadin” brand names. (Bernadin jars are sold in Canada).

The corporate history of Ball is rather complicated and, of necessity, my overview is highly simplistic.  A search of the web should produce more detailed information for the researcher on this glass company.

Please click here to return to the Glass Bottle Marks pages (page one).

Click here to go to my page on the Ball Perfect Mason jars, with more info there as well as links to other sites with more detailed information for jar collectors.

19 Responses to Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company

  1. America the Beautiful says:

    Hello,
    My wife and I recently bought a coffee grinding system with Ball jars used as part of the set. They do not say made in USA like I thought they would. How would I find out which plant makes them? And why do they not proudly display Made in USA on their products? Thank you!

    • David says:

      Many,many Ball jars are not marked “MADE IN USA”. The company / brand name was so well-known, this may have been deemed unnecessary. Also, any markings on glass involves addition mold-work (tooling, engraving on the inside of the mold, which is labor intensive and costs money!) In general, from what I understand, the “MADE IN USA” marking was not required on glass items until after 1919, and then only when the item was slated for export outside the US. Exactly what type of jar are you referring to? Ball made hundreds of slightly different types over a period of many years. Do you believe these jars came with the set originally, or are “all-purpose” type jars used as replacements?
      David

  2. Shally says:

    Hi, I have just recently started collecting Ball mason jars. I have 3 jars that I’ve been trying to find some information on but have not had any luck. And I was hoping someone on here could help me. Jar #1 is a clear glass Ball mason jar that is a liquid drink dispenser. The top is glass that is secured to the jar with the wire closure. A rubber gasket sits between the cover & the jar. The front of the jar says “Ball”, and then underneath that it says IDEAL. On the back of the jar it has an eagle in a circle with a star above it’s head.
    Jar #2 is also a clear jar. The cover consists of the typical metal screw on ring, but instead of the typical metal cover, it’s clear glass.
    Jar #3 is blue in color. It says Ball and underneath that it says “Perfect Mason”. But the perfect mason is not perfectly aligned under the word Ball. It’s off to the left side. Of the many Ball jars I’ve seen ALL of them that say Perfect Mason the words are perfectly aligned under Ball.
    My questions about these jars are: Are they rare? (Especially jar #3) How can I tell when they were made? Anything you can tell me about these jars would be a big help. Please send your response to my e-mail, as I may not be able to get back to this page to see your response.
    Thank You for your time
    Shally

    • David says:

      Shally, have you already checked out my webpage (on this site) on the Ball Perfect Mason jars, and especially the links listed at the bottom of that page, pointing to other sites with more specialized info on Ball jars? There are hundreds of slightly different variants, just of the Ball Perfect Mason. (The “Ideal” was another type of jar made by Ball in very large numbers, with several varieties made over a period of years. The IDEAL was a so-called “Lightning-type closure” jar with a metal wire closure and a glass lid).

      The Ball Perfect Mason with the word “MASON” lettering offset more to the left is somewhat less common than the examples with the lettering centered underneath, but they are still relatively easy to find, and only have a slightly higher “market value”. Two of these variants are classed as Redbook jars #343 and #350-1. Your best bet would be to obtain a copy of the latest ‘Redbook’ of fruit jar values. This book can be obtained online by searching bookseller sites, and a copy (albeit an older version in many cases) might be borrowed at well-stocked, “better” local libraries.

      You can also try searching through online auction sites for Ball jars, just for informational purposes, comparing different types and embossing variations. Type in relevant keywords in the search box on ebay, and look for similar jars. (Although in many cases, the minimum bid, ‘buy it now’ price, or asking price is WILDLY out of line, especially since many sellers have no ideas on the true market value of older jars, and grossly overestimate their value and rarity). Nevertheless, ebay browsing can be a good way to find out what types of older fruit jars are out there to be found, and the variations in lettering, size, color, etc.
      Hope this helps. If any readers can supply additional info, please do.
      Best regards, David

  3. Isabela says:

    Hello i woul like to know if your could sell from 24 to 27 jars of 24 oz with lid.

    • David says:

      Hi Isabela,
      I am going to presume your request is not meant as “spam”. This is not a “for sale” site. I do not actually sell glass containers. This site is for background informational purposes only. You might try contacting a local-area or regional bottle supplier by searching the thomasnet.com site here: http://www.thomasnet.com/products/glass-bottles-7041205-1.html. However, some bottle suppliers and manufacturers require a minimum quantity (which is some cases may be rather high) in order to accept orders.
      Best regards, David

  4. Veronica Barr says:

    I have a Ball Perfect Mason with the number 14 on the base. Can’t find any information. Are you able to help please. Thank you for your time.

    • David says:

      Hello Veronica,
      Most of the more frequently-seen types of aqua or “Ball Blue” colored Ball Perfect Mason jars carry a number from 0 to 15 on the base. These numbers identified the steel mold (or individual mold component/cavity on an automatic bottle machine assembly) from which the jar was made. (The mold numbers have no relation to any particular year or year code). Many of these BPM jars date from the 1920s and 1930s. Please check out my article on this site with more information relating to the Ball Perfect Mason.
      Hope this helps a bit,
      David

  5. Janet Sander says:

    Why was colored glass used for canning jars? Mostly, the blue color?
    Thanks, Janet

    • David says:

      Dear Janet, for more background info on why most older canning jars (and bottles and insulators, for that matter) were made in blue or aqua-colored glass, check out my pages on “What is Glass”, “Ball Perfect Mason” and “Glass Insulator Manufacturers”. Basically, “natural” glass (without adding any ingredients to “decolorize” the mixture) will come out in some shade of blue, green, or aqua because of the iron content of the sand. Nearly all sand used in glass manufacture has some amount of trace iron in it. Years ago (especially before the 1920s or so) it was common for alot of the “cheaper” types of glassware, such as bottles, insulators and fruit jars, to be made in the natural color of glass, i.e. without bothering to change or eliminate the blueish or greenish color. As time went on glass factories gradually changed over, so by the late 1930s and 1940s most glass of this type was being made in clear, as customers preferred to see the “true” color of products which could best be seen through glass that was as colorless as possible. Hope this helps and thanks for writing,
      David

  6. Larry E. Munson says:

    Hi
    Go to THE BALL JAR CCC HOME PAGE FORUM and someone can help you

  7. Judit Broyles says:

    Did they ever produce liquor/Whiskey Bottles?
    I have two with the Ball marks.

    • David says:

      Yes, Ball produced a VERY wide variety of containers, including liquor bottles. Many of their whiskey bottles were produced at their Hillsboro, Illinois plant location, and I assume other plants as well.
      David

  8. Brian Starkman says:

    Hi, David. Are you or anyone else able to tell from which plant(s), and when acl soda pop bottles were made?

    • David says:

      Hi Brian,
      I am not familiar with the plant codes and date codes Ball used on their containers, including soda bottles. To be honest I haven’t searched in-depth for this info, which may or may not already be available somewhere on the web………perhaps someone out there has this information? I am posting your query in hopes that someone can help out in this regard. Thanks alot for writing!
      ~David

  9. Brad Schroeder says:

    Hi, David. I found your website after searching Ball Bros. I worked at Hillsboro Glass Company in Schram City, IL until 1997 when the plant closed. At that time the plant was owned by a middle-eastern company that had purchased it a year earlier from Hiram Walker. We made whiskey and other liquor bottles. Previous to that it was Ball Bros Glass (until H-W purchased it in the 60’s), Schram Glass, and others.

  10. Denise Williams says:

    I would like a copy of the Ball Blue Book that was published in 1969 edition 28

    • David says:

      Hi Denise,
      I am not a bookseller. However, you can probably find a copy of that edition online merely by searching ebay.com or bookfinder.com. Best regards,
      David

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