MASON’S PATENT NOV 30TH 1858 Fruit Jars – Summary


 This “MASON’S / PATENT / NOV 30TH / 1858” phrase was originally embossed on countless glass fruit jars (canning jars)  ranging in age from circa 1858 to the early 1920s.

Note: many reproductions of these jars have been made (from the 1970s all the way up to the present time), which are discussed later in this article. 

WARNING: It has come to my attention that some oddly colored Nov 30th 1858-type jars (shades of red and yellow, probably other colors exist) have recently surfaced for sale on auction sites. They have the base mold number: H385. We can be assured that ALL jars with this mold number are reproductions (modern fakes or ‘fantasy’ jars). They were likely recent imports from Asia !!! If anyone has further info on this type of jar, or knows of other mold numbers that ID fakes, please contact me! [This paragraph added November 26, 2013].

Also…… of August 4, 2014, unusually colored midget (Consolidated Fruit Jar Company logo) NOV 30TH 1858 jars have been reported with a mold number on the base: H39s (the “9” is backwards and the “S” looks somewhat like a backward “Z”). These are also recently-made imports from Asia. 

NOTE: Other Patent Nov 30th 1858 reproduction jars are reported with a mold number “H430” on the base (thank you Chris!). 


Brief History of the 1858 jars

John Landis Mason was awarded patent #22186, issued on November 30, 1858 by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (actually the patent was termed an “Improvement in screw-neck bottles”),  for his invention concerning the process of creating a threaded screw-type closure on bottles and jars.

Similar screw-threading had been done before on some bottles, but the process of forming the upper lip area of the container (so that it was smooth, even, and sturdy enough for a lid of standard size to be screwed thereon) was difficult and expensive to do properly, often with unsatisfactory results. His improvement revolutionized home canning in the United States.

The very first jars with the Nov 30 1858 patent date embossing are believed to have been made at the “Crowleytown” Glass Works (more accurately the Atlantic Glass Works), located in Washington Township, New Jersey.  There is no absolute proof of that, however.

The “Crowleytown” jars have a more pronounced square shoulder, differing in appearance from the typical later types. For a very good in-depth discussion of the Crowleytown and nearby glass works, check out .

Another firm which was producing the jars early on was the Consolidated Fruit Jar Company, perhaps making them as early as 1859 or 1860. Questions remain on exactly which companies made these jars during the early years, since the 1858 patent evidently lasted 13 years (or 20 years, counting a patent reissue), and ostensibly during that time period no one was allowed to produce the jars because of patent infringement issues unless they were granted permission by Mason, or the licensed holder of the patent.

In any case, throughout the next 60-odd years, production of jars with the Nov. 30, 1858 embossing continued at a high rate, with untold tens of millions (or more) produced. The phrase was soon considered an important marketing device, adding to the perception of quality and reliability of the container to the average consumer,  and, at least by 1879 (21 years after the patent was issued), it is very likely that nearly every glass bottle factory was producing their own version.

The 1880s and 1890s likely saw the peak of popularity of these jars. A considerable percentage have a mold number or letter on the base, a means of identifying the particular mold in use at the factory.
Some examples were quite crudely made, with lots of embedded bubbles, mold irregularities, and a “hammered”, “rippled”, “whittled”, or “washboard” appearance to the surface of the glass. The “whittled” look might be compared to the appearance of heavy rain beating against a glass windowpane, and is caused by the molten glass having been blown into a mold that was not properly pre-heated — that is, the glass had begun to solidify too quickly. Contrary to a popular misconception, these jars were not made in wooden molds, but in metal molds, usually made of cast iron or steel.

Some examples also have identifying initials on the base or reverse, or a monogram on the front or back, which can serve to identify what company made them.   (For instance, jars with the lettering “W.C.D.” on the base are products of the W. C. Depauw Glass Company, located in New Albany, Indiana. The jar pictured here is an example.)

Mason's Patent Nov 30th 1858 jar



However, vast quantities were produced by well over 100 different glass factories, and many of those have NO identification marks whatsover, or only a mold number, letter, or emblem on the base.  In those cases it is difficult, if not virtually impossible, to positively identify the actual glassmaker.    They are found in a multitude of color shades, with light aqua being the most commonly seen. Many shades of amber, greens, blues, amethyst, clear, and rarely, white milkglass, and blackglass examples are found.  The blackglass units are attributed to the Hemingray Glass Company, well-known for their electrical insulators. 

Many variants of the 1858 jars are found with a glass manufacturer’s monogram or logo placed on the front.   In some cases the logo is placed directly above the word MASON’S.   In many other cases it is placed immediately underneath the word “MASON’S” but above the word “PATENT”.  For instance, some jars are marked with a “Maltese Cross” symbol which indicates the Hero Glass Works / Hero Fruit Jar Company, of Philadelphia, PA.  On some jars the letters “H”,  “F”,  “J” and “Co” can be faintly seen within  each “arm” of the cross.  This type of jar is listed as #1939 in the “Redbook” of fruit jars often consulted by collectors.   There are other slightly different variants of that jar also (this is just one example)!

Anyone interested in learning more about the many, many variants of the 1858 patent jars that have been catalogued so far would be served well to obtain a recent copy of the “Redbook” price guide, used by most advanced collectors of fruit jars.

The earlier variants of the 1858 jars typically have a ground lip, (that is, having the appearance of being smoothed off on a grinding wheel, leaving a somewhat rough surface), and later variations made, in general, after the 1905-1915 period, are machine-made and have a smooth lip.

Ball Bros. Glass Manufacturing Company made most of the very latest machine-made types.  Many other variations of this basic jar (with changes in the exact raised embossed wording) were made in ensuing years, for example, the “Mason’s Improved” jar.   The “Mason Jar” is now a generic term, meaning any jar used for canning which has a screw-type lid.   A notable successor of this type of jar, the Ball Perfect Mason (with dozens of minor variations in size, shape and color;  please see the “Ball Perfect Mason” page),  would easily become the most popular and commonly produced fruit jar of the 20th century in the US, and is seen in proliferation at antique stores and flea markets around the United States.  

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many reproductions of the “MASON’S PATENT NOV 30TH 1858” jars in circulation, especially examples produced in the last 30 years or so!!!  These are typically (but not always) made in unusual, bright, garish “striking” colors that are very rare or unknown in the originals, and often they are of a smaller size which tends to be in higher demand.  Beware!  They typically “look new” with a “slickness” to the glass, little or no base wear, and usually have no damage of any kind.   Some of the mold numbers that may be seen on the bottoms which usually indicate a fake jar include: 1171 , 851  and  971.  

Reproduction jars are known in many colors, including bright ruby red glass, cobalt blue, blackglass, bright greens, ambers, purple, olive green, yellow, citron, and other colors.

Anyone seriously interested in collecting the authentic early jars has to be aware that the repros are out there, sometimes “mixed in” with the real ones, at antique shops & malls, general antique shows,  flea markets and even antique fruit jar and bottle shows. They are collected as beautiful pieces of glassware in their own right, but increasingly, many of these are being sold as “authentic antiques”, with or without actual intention to deceive.  Many of these repros have been imported from Asia, especially China, India & Taiwan.   In general (with exceptions!!)  most AQUA examples are authentic, since the color was so typical of old glass, and  is considered “ordinary”,”common” or “unremarkable” by collectors searching for the rare colored jars.

I have seen, however, just recently (2013)  even rather ordinary-looking aqua or greenish-aqua 1858  jars for sale at flea markets that are, in fact, new, and were probably imported from China!   They have a hard-to-define appearance which can best be appreciated by actual handling of the glass. There is usually no base wear at all, no very fine scratches (almost always a few will be evident under close scrutiny on older authentic jars) or even a hint of damage of any kind.  The surface of the glass is smooth and slick with a somewhat lighter-weight construction than authentic older jars.  Some of these jars are now being sold at flea markets or on online auction sites along with spray pump style lids,  sold as lotion or liquid soap dispensers. Others might be sold to use as decorative “rustic” or “retro” canisters, to hold dry pasta or beans, or to use when making homemade candles  or other craft projects.

Please click  here to go to the  Glass Bottle Marks, Page #1.

Please click here for my HOME PAGE.

33 Responses to MASON’S PATENT NOV 30TH 1858 Fruit Jars – Summary

  1. Beth says:

    Hi there, I sent a message asking about a jar and I am having a hard time finding the message and the reply. How can I make sure you received it? I have a Mason’s jar and Its an aqua Mason Nov 30th 1858 jar and it has a logo under the word Masons then the word Patent. It is hard to explain what the logo looks like. I am having a hard time finding anything like it. The word Mason’s has a curve to it. It has a number 29 on the bottom of the jar. The lid is a Boyd’s lid it says ” genuine Boyd’s cap for mason jar” I have had the jar for years now and would love some info on it.

    • David says:

      Beth, please contact me directly, using the email address at the bottom right of any page on this site. If I can see a pic of the jar and the embossing, perhaps I can come up with specific info for you.

  2. Eleesha says:

    We purchased a mason’s patent nov 30th 1858 jar…lots of air bubbles and swirls in the glass with a heavy seam on each side of the bottle. But the most interesting thing is 4 raised dots on the bottom of the jar???? Can you tell me what those signify and age approximate of the jar???

    • David says:

      Eleesha, the dots are presumably mold identification marks (equivalent to letters or digits) and cannot give us any specific info on age or glassmaker. Dots and “bumps” are seen on many older bottles and jars.

  3. Lori Bennett says:

    I have two Mason Standard antique quart jars. I know they are old as they came from my grandmother’s cellar. Standard is written in script, slanting upwards and Mason, below it, in capital block letters inside a banner type outline also slanting up. They are blue, bubbled & have seams. One has a two on the bottom and the other has a three. I haven’t ever seen any like these and would appreciate anything you could tell me about them.

    • David says:

      Lori, your jar type is listed in “The Fruit Jar Works, Volume 1” by Alice Creswick, (and the accompanying “Redbook” guide used by jar collectors) as jar listing #2712. The text, page 200, indicates the jar was made between 1902-1925 POSSIBLY by the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company, San Francisco, CA. (The numbers on the base are mold numbers).
      Your jar is just one of many slightly different “Mason” type jars with the words MASON and/or STANDARD as part of their markings. Thus it can be very confusing to pinpoint exactly which jar type is being discussed. Your precise description helped me to easily differentiate and find that listing in Creswick’s reference book!
      Hope this helps,

  4. Abbey Barnes says:

    I recently bought a mason jar and in just wondering if it is real or a reproduction. It says, Mason’s patent Nov. 30th 1858. It is of a light blueish green color and has a lot of bubbles in the glass. On the bottom the mark looks like a 7 with a line through it or an uppercase L with a line through it, depending on which way you are holding it. Thoughts?

    • David says:

      Abbey, in all likelihood it is “real”, meaning it is an older one from sometime in the 1858-1912 time period. From your description of the base marking I suspect it may be a later machine-made production from Ball (circa 1900-1912). The “smooth base” 1858s are machine-made and were made by Ball and other glass companies in the early 1900s. The versions with the “ground lip” (looks as if the top was smoothed off on a grinding wheel) were handmade and (in GENERAL) predate 1900.

  5. Joe Kerr says:

    Hi Dave, I have a patent jar in the aqua blue as well with a 207 on the bottom? Any idea where this may have been manufactured?

    • David says:

      Hi Joe, the numbers on the base of jars with the “MASON’S PATENT NOV 30TH 1858” marking are, as far as is generally understood by the collecting fraternity, MOLD NUMBERS. They merely identified a particular mold in use at the factory. They give us absolutely no information on what company made a particular jar (with the exception of some Hemingray-produced jars, as mentioned in the text). Mold numbers were probably used by HUNDREDS of glass manufacturers that made these jars. So-called “green glass” factories (those making utilitarian containers, not tableware) almost always made some fruit jars as part of their operations, that covering the period of circa 1858 into the 1910s.

  6. Lisa Stott says:

    I have an old Masons Jar that’s aqua color. Patent November 28, 1858. Number 4 on the bottom. I can’t find anything about it really other than Wikipedia. I located it on the family farm in WV. It even has the lid with the milk glass inside.

    • David says:

      Lisa, I assume you meant “Nov 30 1858”. The “4” is a mold number. Many different mold numbers are found on these jars, and they usually don’t give us any information on exactly what glass company made the jar, or when. Please check out my text and the comments section for more info.

  7. Crystal says:

    I have a Mason’s Patent Nov. 30th 1858 with Pat.Nov 26 67 and a 10 in the canter of the bottom of the jar.

  8. Barb Adair says:

    Mine has Nov 30 “HT” not th

  9. Curtis says:

    Thanks for describing my mason’s jar so well in your article. I have one with the maltase cross with the letters in each arm as mentioned. The bottom of the jar is embossed with ” pat nov. 26 67″ around the edge and the number 86 or 8G double stamped in the middle. The bottle itself looks like it could have been molded in a carved wooden mold.

    • David says:

      Thank you, Curtis. All of the “1858” jars were made in iron or steel molds, although the “whittled” look does make them look like they might have been blown in wooden molds. take care,

  10. Jacqueline Lee says:

    I have a blue quart mason jar. On the front it says; MASON’S
    PATENT 1858. No month though. On the opposite side it spells Port in cursive. Can you tell me anything about it ? I sure would appreciate your opinion.

    • David says:

      Your jar is a type made by Port Glass Company (originally located in Muncie, Indiana 1890-1902) at their second plant in Belleville, Illinois (1902-1904). The Port plant at Belleville was purchased by Ball Brothers Glass Company in 1904 who continued to operate it until 1910 when it was closed. Your jar is listed as jar #1767 in the “Redbook” price guide used by jar collectors. This info is from Alice Creswick’s “The Fruit Jar Works” and Dick Roller’s “The Standard Fruit Jar Reference”. Both are very comprehensive books with good background info on many jars and companies. The books are hard to find, out of print, and rather expensive when they are available.
      Hope this helps~

  11. Jessica says:


    I recently came across a fruit jar that says “the mason jar of 1872”. It has the original glass lid that has patented September 24 1872. I tried researching it online but came across no information. Do you know anything about this jar?

    Thank you,


    • David says:

      Hi Jess,
      Several different variants of the jars marked “The Mason Jar of 1872” were made by Whitney Bros, later Whitney Glass Works, of Glassboro, New Jersey, dating from 1871 up to around 1900. If the base of your jar is completely unmarked, you probably have the earliest version, which is listed as #1749 in the “Redbook” used by jar collectors. Info from Alice Creswick’s “The Fruit Jar Works, Volume 1” (1995), pages 125-126.

  12. David says:

    Hi David! My girlfriend and I were at Renningers flea market and came across an unusual mason jar. It’s November 30th edition 1858. But it has an unusual marking symbol under the Mason name. The symbol is with an F, J and C all joing together. Also has the markings on the bottom J. II9 with a line under the “II”. Cant seem to find much on this jar. Was wanting to know if you could help out. Thank you.

    • David says:

      David, your jar was made for the Consolidated Fruit Jar Company, New Brunswick, NJ with sales offices in New York, in business from around 1871 into the early 1900s. Consolidated seems to have been a distributor (rather than an actual glassmaker) and they had huge numbers of jars made for them by many glass companies over several decades (basically, a subcontracting arrangement). The “C F J CO” monogram is seen on several varieties of “Nov 30th 1858 type” jars, usually with the monogram placed immediately below the word MASON’S, and sometimes embossed on the back of the jar. Your variety is listed as #1920 in the “Redbook” guide used by jar collectors.

  13. Patrick P says:

    Hello i purchased a dark purple Masons Improved jar it has F.260 on the bottom of it I don’t think it a reproduction but someone told me it is can you help me.

    • David says:

      Patrick, if you wish, you can email me a pic of the jar and of the base to my email address which is listed on the bottom right hand corner of any page on this site. I suspect it is an irradiated jar, or a modern repro, but I would like to see a pic of it, if possible.
      Best regards,

  14. Sandra Day-Alexander says:

    Hi – I have a Mason’s Patent Nov 30th 1858 with an A5 on the bottom. Any ideas how old it may be? I found it along with 40 other different mason jars when we tore down an old house.

    • David says:

      Sandra, many molds were used by hundreds of glass factories to produce the Nov 30th 1858 jars (over a period of 50+ years) and many of those molds were marked with mold identification numbers or letters on the base. In the great majority of cases, it is not possible to find the year of manufacture.

  15. Patrick says:

    I have a jar with “Mason”patented November 30th 1880 the number on the bottom 75. This bottle has a lot of oblong air bubbles in it. I have not been able to find any information on this jar

    • David says:

      Hi Patrick, See my reply I posted today on a similar jar, in answer to a post by Ellen. Your jar has a “75” mold number on it, and hers has the number “72”. They were both presumably made in the early 1880s.

  16. Ellen says:

    I recent bought a clear half gallon canning jar that says “”Mason” Patent Nov. 30th 1880″ – not 1858 and I have not been able to find anything about this jar online or find one like it for sale anywhere. Can you tell me anything about it? There are no other markings on the jar except for the number 72 on bottom. Thank you

    • David says:

      Hi Ellen,
      Although at first glance, this jar might seem to be an “Error Jar”, this was referring to an actual patent awarded on November 30th, 1880. The patent was relating to a milkglass “Immerser lid” which originally came with the jar. There are two jar variants listed in the official fruit jar collectors’ “REDBOOK”, they are listed as jars numbered #2130 and 2131. The jar number 2131 has “quotation marks” on both sides of the word “MASON”, otherwise they are similar. I do not have info on rarity or current values. I would suggest you try posting a query in the Fruit Jars discussion forums at the site. A lot of good, in-depth information is posted on that site.
      Best regards,

  17. I’ve inherited a 6 cup Ball Special, made in U.S.A. har which has a zinc lid with glass center which has PAT RE.17562 in raised capital letters across the center of the glass. (There is the number 13 above the Pat # at about 11 o’clock, “13”. Could someone help me to better understand what I have inherited? I do not know if this was my mother’s who was born in 1928, or from her mother? Very curious, and would like to know!

  18. Barbara adair says:

    I have a nov 30 “ht” 1885 I’ve hade it since the 70’s bought it in a box lot at a farm auction. Have not been able to find any others with ht not th

    • David says:

      Hi Barbara,
      I am assuming you meant to write “1858”, correct? If so, your jar variant is listed as catalog #1820 in the “Redbook” of antique fruit jars used by jar collectors. There is also a jar with the error date “1885” but the “TH” is correctly embossed. That jar is listed as #1829.
      Hope this helps,

Comments/Reader's posts (All comments must await moderation and will not be posted immediately). Because of mail volume received, and time and energy restraints, many questions cannot be answered individually, especially if the subject is already addressed elsewhere on this site. This site is NOT intended as an appraisal service, but as a resource for background info on glass companies and their marks, so I usually delete "What is this bottle worth?" types of queries. Thank you very much for your patience & understanding!