Kerr Glass Manufacturing Company (“Corporation” after 1927)
Portland, Oregon (1904-1912, offices only)
Los Angeles, CA (1919-1992, offices only)
Kerr did not actually manufacture glass during the earliest period from 1904 to 1909, but instead had jars made for them (with the Kerr name embossing) by other glass companies, Illinois-Pacific Glass Company of San Francisco, and Hazel-Atlas Glass Company based in Washington, PA, later Wheeling WV. In 1909 Kerr’s first glass manufacturing plant opened at Altoona, KS. (Also see “A H K” entry).
GLASS MANUFACTURING PLANTS
Kerr had glass manufacturing plants located at: Altoona, Kansas (from 1909-1912); Sand Springs, Oklahoma (beginning in 1912); Huntington, West Virginia (from 1933; this plant closed December 7, 1982 – information from Mike Harmon); Santa Ana, California (from 1943); Plainfield, Illinois (from 1964); Dunkirk, Indiana (from 1968); Millville, New Jersey (1968- see more information on the Millville location at the Whitall Tatum Company page) and Waxahachie, Texas (from 1968).
Kerr is most well known as producers of several kinds of fruit jars used for home canning. (They also produced large quantities of other types of glass containers, especially in later years). Their most famous and important fruit jar in the early years was their “Kerr – Economy” jar, made in large quantities at their plants in Altoona, KS and Sand Springs, OK. Many of the earlier ECONOMY types are marked with the words “KERR GLASS MFG. CO” embossed on the bottom, and in general those jars probably date mostly from around 1904 to circa 1920. Other jars made in later years include their “Self Sealing” Mason, which was made in many different types and sizes including the “wide mouth” varieties. For anyone learning more about the different Kerr jar types and their market values, I would encourage them to consult the value pricing guide used by most advanced fruit jar collectors: the so-called “REDBOOK” of fruit jars.
The Kerr glass plants were bought by Ball Corporation in 1992, (Ball later left the glass container business altogether, and sold the plants to Saint-Gobain Containers, now Verallia). [UPDATE: Verallia plants, as of April 2014, are now under the ARDAGH GROUP].
The rights to the “Kerr” brand name, as used on currently-made fruit jars, was held by the Alltrista Corporation, which later became known as the Jarden Corporation (Jarden Home Brands).
Update: Jarden Home Brands, as of 2014, continues to sell new glass canning jars with the KERR and BALL brand name embossings. It is my understanding that many, if not most, of these recent jars made FOR Jarden Home Brands are being made at the Winchester, Indiana plant owned now by Ardagh Group, North America. (See Ball Bros Glass Company, Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, and Ball Perfect Mason).
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