Boyd’s Genuine Porcelain Lined Cap

“Boyd’s Genuine Porcelain Lined Cap”

This marking is one of many slight variations in phrasing found embossed in a circular formation on round milkglass liners (“inserts” or “discs”) , part of zinc screw lids used with the “Mason” style canning/ fruit jars.
The glass liners helped prevent food from coming in direct contact with the metal lid, which otherwise caused a metallic “off-taste” to be imparted to preserved food (not to mention the increased possibility of contamination from bacteria).

Lewis R. Boyd was issued a patent for his invention (#88439) on March 30, 1869. The actual title of the patent is termed “Improved Mode of Preventing Corrosion In Metallic Caps”.

The patent can be viewed here, a pdf file from the sha.org site : Boyd’s Patent of March 30, 1869.

Tremendous numbers of these glass lids were made, by a number of glass companies, many of whom are unidentified. Some of the earlier lids may have been produced by Consolidated Fruit Jar Company, and/or Hero Fruit Jar Company.

Hazel-Atlas Glass Company (after 1902) is known to have produced large quantities of the inserts.

Although most of them are found in an opaque, or semi-translucent white milkglass, some are seen in “off” shades of milky or “foggy” aqua, green or blue.  Only a very few of them were actually made of true porcelain, the great majority being made of glass, notwithstanding the phrase which would  indicate otherwise.

Group of Milkglass liners with various markings

It is virtually impossible to assign a specific age to any of these lids. Presumably, the first ones date from approximately 1869. The very earliest versions are said to have been made in transparent glass, with milkglass versions introduced approximately 1871.  It is assumed the most of the earlier versions of these liners have the name “BOYD’S” or “BOYD” embossed on them. Later versions may or may not have the name included in the lettering.

They were continued to be made in huge quantities for many decades thereafter, with production probably extending well into the 1950s or later. The timeline of markings (which ones came first) is uncertain. Many of the metal zinc lids marked “BALL” (in cursive) come with an insert marked “Genuine Zinc Cap for Ball Mason Jars” (no mention of Boyd).  Presumably, many of those were made by Ball Bros. Glass Manufacturing Company.

The lids are frequently found by bottle diggers at old dump sites, or in privies (where outhouses used to stand)  along with other durable (non-degradable) items such as bottles, jars, broken dishes, pottery, shards of glass tableware, etc. They are often found separated from the zinc lid that they were once a part of.

Boyd insert - semi-translucent

Many slight variations in the exact lettering are seen. Some of the lids carry mold numbers, such as “2″ or “3″. The mold numbers, especially on older caps, are often hand-engraved and rather crude-looking.

Here are just a few of the lettering variations seen:

1) Boyd’s Genuine Porcelain Lined Cap

2) Genuine Boyd Cap / For Mason Jars

3) [Diamond logo] Genuine Zinc Cap [Diamond Logo] For Ball Mason Jars

4) Genuine Porcelain Lined Mason Cap

5) [Hazel-Atlas mark in center] Genuine Boyd’s Cap / For Mason Jar

6) Unmarked

Boyd insert

For more information on some of the jars involved, see these webpages on the Ball Perfect Mason, and Mason’s Patent Nov 30th 1858  fruit jars.

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

 

14 Responses to Boyd’s Genuine Porcelain Lined Cap

  1. Caroline says:

    I found one in the Platte River in Nebraska….would pioneers starting out on the Oregon trail have had canned foods? It looks like the one on the very top left corner of your collage picture. Is that considered the oldest piece? As I’m looking through my other glass pieces, I have half pieces but only have one intact piece.

    • David says:

      Hi Caroline, the inserts have been made since about 1869. (The earliest versions of the so-called “Mason Jar” came into use as far back as 1858). As I’ve written in the text of this page, no one is certain exactly which glass inserts are the oldest, although the oldest ones are believed to have been made in clear or off-clear glass, and the opaque “milk glass” examples were introduced soon after. I have no way of knowing which ones in the group photo are the oldest. I do believe that the lone insert with the mold number “3″ in the larger photo may be quite old, but I say that only because of the crudeness of the “3″.

      I would imagine the insert you found in the Platte River dates from long after the days of the pioneers, but that would be a question I can’t answer for certain. Most of the inserts are found in areas where trash (including broken jars) were dumped many years ago. Much household trash was dumped along waterways including the banks of creeks, larger streams and rivers, especially in earlier years of this country’s history, when regular trash pickup was still a thing of the future.
      ~David

  2. Donna Shuttlesworth says:

    I have a porcelain milkglass looking lid with 3/4ths of the zinc cap attached. It is marked “Boyds Genuine Lined Porcelain Cap”. Would it be correct to say it is of the1871 era?

    • David says:

      Donna, the “short answer” is NO.
      Although I think that some of the older milkglass inserts may have that exact wording (an example is my picture of the “milky foggy” looking piece with the mold number “3″ in the center of the top), it is not possible to assign an exact date range to your example. I think that, in general, we can assign a VERY general time period of circa 1880s-1930s for lids with that exact phrase, but this is only a guessing game.
      Speaking hypothetically, if an archaeologist was able to (for instance) correlate a considerable quantity of these lids with specific wording to a KNOWN time period, (from a number of a specific type definitely being found within a layer of, for instance, 1880s bottles or 1910s trash deposits), we might potentially get a better idea on tentative answers to this question………however I know of no such study, or of anyone interested in trying to find out which phrases were marked embossed on them during any certain time periods.
      Another problem is the fact that since these jars (and lids) were frequently used over very long periods of time, some of the much older lids may be found mixed into trash deposits that are of a much later vintage.
      ~David

  3. dan says:

    I found one that has a number 4 on it can anybody tell me what year it. Is and how much its worth

  4. Patsy says:

    I just found one ditting a post hole in my sons back yard, with one has an A with a wide H over it. Have you ever seen one like this. I found alot on ebay, but not with that symbol. Have any Idea how old it might be.

    • David says:

      Hi Patsy,
      You have found an insert that was made by Hazel-Atlas Glass Company. Their mark is an “H over a smaller A”. They made lots of milkglass, such as salve, ointment and cold cream jars, small “hen on nest” candy dishes, tableware including vases, compotes and bowls, as well as those little discs for canning jars. For more info on Hazel-Atlas, you can check out my page on that company here. I can’t pin down a specific date for that piece. All we can say for sure is that it dates sometime between 1902 and 1964. However, if I had to make a guess, I would say more likely from the 1920s-1940s.
      ~David

  5. Kerry Weaver says:

    We found one of these glass liners when we were placing a headstone on a 90 year old grave. Any ideas on how it ended up there? Thank you, Kerry

    • David says:

      Hi Kerry,
      Interesting~ Here are my thoughts…. You might be surprised how many weird things can show up (almost anywhere) when a little digging is done, even in places where it doesn’t seem to make any sense.

      Here goes:
      1) Fill dirt. Small amounts of “fill dirt” or topsoil might be occasionally spread around or overlaid on areas within a cemetery, such as to build up and smooth off depressions (formed after long-continued settling of the soil) or to create “new” areas of a cemetery. Occasionally the dirt may have a few artifacts (debris) mixed in, including pieces of old bottles, bits of pottery, broken dishes, pebbles, small chunks of old bricks from construction, etc. Most topsoil is now screened to some extent, but this may not always be the case, especially if it is purchased from an individual or a very casual operation, and was taken from property where old residences or businesses were located (such soil almost always has some pieces of glass in it)…..which leads to my second idea.
      2) The cemetery might be located on land that was once an area where a house (or houses) stood. Many years ago, especially before 1900 or so, especially in rural areas, some homes had an area along the back perimeter of the yard where trash was burned or dumped. Sometimes if the back border of a yard is next to an overgrown or wooded area, lots of trash including old glass, etc, would end up there, and as the years passed may eventually be spread out and buried. Also, many homes had an outhouse (privy) into which trash was dumped, and when the outhouse was removed the non-degradable items are still buried in the ground.
      3) Someone might have left a fruit jar near the grave as a homemade “vase” with fresh or artificial flowers, or as a memento relating to their love of canning, perhaps containing something inside the jar of special interest. Later, the jar was removed, or damaged by a lawnmower, and the milkglass insert somehow survived destruction.
      4) Or maybe the insert itself was left on the grave as a memento for some unknown reason. Does this one have any embossed markings on it?
      5) As you know, it’s not unusual for some animals, such as neighborhood dogs, to pick up objects and carry them around. It’s possible a wandering dog picked this up somewhere (maybe 80 or a hundred years ago) and dropped it where it has since lain until you found it!
      How’s that for some ideas?? :-)

      Take care, David

      • Kerry says:

        Lots of ideas! Thanks! I wanted to think that it was left as a memento for my 2nd great-grandmother who died in 1928. Yes, it says “Boyd’s Genuine Porcelain Cap”. It has a 3 in the middle and on the other side in the middle it has a 2 but it has a more crude look to it.

  6. Cheryl says:

    how can you separate the glass liner from the lid without breaking the lid?

    • David says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      From my experience, it seems that most of these milkglass liners (that is, the liner alone) are found in old dumping areas or in a situation where the metal lid had corroded to some extent so that the liner had come loose of it’s own accord. I don’t recommend removing the liner purposely, unless you are perfectly willing to damage the lid. I feel the lid and liner should always be kept intact if it is found in that condition. The entire lid, if in decent condition, will always have more value and (of course) can be of practical use on most typical mason-style jars.
      I created this particular page because alot of these inserts are found individually, i.e. after they have separated from the original lid, and sometimes finders don’t realize what they have found. But I really don’t recommend that you intentionally separate one of them from the lid. But if you do find a “free” insert “as is”, save and display it especially if there are any embossed markings.
      Thanks, and have a great day!
      David

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