In 1858, John L. Mason (1832-1902) invented a glass jar with a threaded opening that allowed a metal cap to be screwed on for a tight seal; a rubber ring was added as a gasket to make airtight. The Mason jar revolutionized home fruit and vegetable preservation.
Born in Vineland, New Jersey, Mason grew up in Philadelphia. While still a young man he moved to New York City where he worked as a tinsmith in his own shop in Canal Street. It was in the rented room where he lived, at 154 West Nineteenth Street, that he had the idea of a glass jar to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables.
He began experimenting with metal lids for glass preserving jars as an improvement on existing methods of sealing the jars, which included corks, flat metal tops sealed with wax, or flat tops held on with wire balls or other types of clamps.
On November 30, 1858, Mason patented the self-sealing zinc lid and glass jar. In 1903, Alexander H. Kerr refined the technology with a lid that included the rubber gasket.
Prior to Mason’s invention, winter meals in America were dreary; the only available fruits and vegetables were dried. But the Mason jar allowed gardeners to seal in the harvest-time freshness of fruit and vegetables.
Invention of Mason jar
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