View Full Version : Help on Confusing Ball

10-30-2005, 04:19 PM
I just found an aqua jar that says "Ball" in script, and "MASON", has a "3" and 2 hash marks on the bottom, and is totally confusing to me.

I think it has a pontil scar, and the glass is very wavy, with 2 large bubbles & some small ones; but

it is a screw-top, and the seam goes through the lip.

Is it even possible to have a pontil scar when the seam goes through the lip? [8|] I normally find sodas & booze, so I don't know anything about jars. Am off to Walgreens now to try to develop pix of what I think is the pontil scar.

Any info would be appreciated...

10-30-2005, 07:46 PM
Here is what seems to sort-of be a pontil scar? Maybe? It is round, smooth, and sticks out of the bottom, maybe 1/16th inch?


10-30-2005, 07:48 PM
Here's one of the whole bottle--this is as close-up as my camera will go:


10-30-2005, 11:20 PM
No that is not a pontil scar. What you have there is an ejection scar. These were typical on bottles and jars after 1940 or so.

The wavy glass is just a by product of the molding process.


10-30-2005, 11:25 PM
Well that makes sense. It seems awful crude for 1940, but then again, I suppose they didn't have to be as careful with jars as they were with soda bottles...

Thanks for the info! [:)]

10-31-2005, 02:34 PM
Your jar appears to have been made on the Ball Bingham machine. It's hard to tell from the small pic, but it looks like you have what's known as a "3L" Ball jar. Is there a third loop behind the word Ball before it goes to the underscore? These were made on this machine from 1900-1910. The older hand blown jars were blown from the top, the excess cut off, then the edge near the threads ground flat.

Hope this helped.

11-02-2005, 08:23 PM
Thanks Joe!
That helped alot. There is a 3rd loop after the 2 "l"s, before the underscore. I have a name for my little treasure now, and the machine it was made on. Thanks!! [:D]

11-06-2005, 05:46 PM
I don't understnd something. How could this be a machine made bottle when the ABM wasn't invented until 1907 and not widely used until 1910?

11-06-2005, 06:39 PM
I always heard that ABM started in 1903 & had pretty much taken over all of the U.S. by 1910. I've heard that alot.

I THINK somebody told me that they had bottle machines for jars before they had them for bottles, but I might have imagined that.

maybe somebody who knows for sure will tell us. [8|]

11-06-2005, 08:56 PM
It makes sense that jars were mass produced first be cause they were more commonly used. I've heard different starting dates and use for the ABM. Now another. Maybe we should ask Digger O'dell.[;)] I 'm sure he would know.
I like the aqua square shoulder mason. It is an early one for sure. Some masons are dated somewhere around the threads in very small numbers. Some not. nice find Ronvae. I wish I could help you more.

11-07-2005, 04:37 AM
hey guys abm supposedly started in in 1903 by michael j owens in toledo ohio, but ive found much controversy about the start, i think the early bottles just had an o for owens then it changed to an o in a square around 1910 to 1929 when they merged with illinois glass company. please correct me if im wrong!! i would love some feed back on this subject i collect a lot of early machine made bottles mike

11-19-2005, 11:50 AM
This is a quote from the Ball Jars introduction in Dick Roller's Standard Reference guide, it might clarify a few things for you: "About 1895, Ball began to make jars on the new semi-automatic glassblowing machines. As the years went by, newer types of improved machines replaced the earlier machines. While it is very difficult to determine just which Ball jars were made on which machines, it is possible to identify those jars made on the semi-automatic Ball machines. These jars most often have a misalibnment between the side seams on the jar body and the seams through the finish area. As a result of design changes in machines, the shoulder seal finish was replaced by the bead seal finish about 1910."
Additionally, the early Owens machines left a large, rough circle on the base of the jar, while the early Ball-Bingham machines left a smaller smooth circle. Hope that helps, -Tammy

11-19-2005, 12:15 PM
Thanks! It does--Hoosier49er was right--it was definately a Ball-Bingham Machine, by the small, very smooth circle on the bottom.

I looked at the side-seam, and there is a VERY minor misalignment between the seam going up the side, and the seam crossing the little shoulder. I don't think it's enough to count, though, and the seam does go all the way through the lip, so it probably was a fully-automatic machine.

I enjoy a bottle so much more when I know about it! Thanks![:D]

01-07-2006, 02:45 PM
Hi all,

You can tell which early machines were used to make certain Ball jars by the characteristics. As the machinery was being improved in the early 1900s, each machine had characteristics others didn't, so it is now fairly easy to determine some machines.

Jars made on the F.C. Ball machine will have offset seams in the thread area and body of the jar. That is, these seams will not line up vertically. They have about a quarter sized valve mark on their base. (this valve mark allowed air trapped between the jar and mould to escape during production) The glass is fairly evenly distributed throughout the jar.

Jars made on the E.B. Ball machine have seams that do line up vertically. Most of these jars have a sorta "cupped base" appearance where the base is more rounded than other jars. The valve mark on these is slightly smaller. Smooth, even glass distribution.

Jars made on the Ball-Bingham machine are always easy to spot because of the wavy appearance of the glass, especially in the bottom half of the jar. You can feel these waves on the inside of the container. The seams will line up vertically and they also have about a quarter sized valve mark.

All three of these machines were in use between 1900 and 1910 concurrently. It is even known that during periods of peak demand, that even at a later date after they acquired Owen's machine rights Ball would have to fire up some of these older machines to keep up with consumer orders. That is why we sometimes see Ball Perfect Mason jars with centered embossing (post 1915) having been made on the Ball-Bingham machine.

When Ball acquired the Owen's machine rights in 1909, the jars made on it had a real rough circular scar about 2 inches in diameter. As Ball improved that machine, this scar actually got much larger, but a lot smoother in appearance. Because of that, we now can designate between old Owen's and new Owen's made jars.

All of this happened between 1900 and 1915 as production numbers increased greatly because of improvements made to machines. Today, some glass forming machines are capable of producing more than 700 beer bottles per MINUTE and many furnaces make over 500 tons of glass per DAY. We ought to be up to our necks in glass! :o)

I worked with these machines for nearly 20 years. It was simply fascinating. I urge any jar collector to try to tour a glass container facility if possible. It will be a tour you won't soon forget!

Bob Clay

01-12-2006, 08:16 AM
Wow! Thanks! I printed your email, and wouldn't you know, I just found another Ball jar which may be oldish...it's bleaching downstairs. When it's all cleaned up, I sit down w/ your email & try to figure it out. [:D]