Cappers Farmer Blogs > Mama Made Me

Who Remembers These?

By D.J. Glawson

Tags: Canning Jars, Canning Lids, Economy Jars, Kerr Jars, Handled Jars, Metal Spring Canning Lids, Old Fashioned Jars, Antiques, Self Sealing Jars,

DJI will bet there are a whole lot of people out there who remember every single one of these jars! Am I right, ladies? I know there are some guys who do, too, but most of the time it was the ladies that did the canning, so I am targeting them a little bit here.

An Assortment of Old Canning Jars

How many of you remember these jars?

My cousin’s husband gave my husband and I several boxes of old jars he had stored out in a building he calls the ‘little barn.’ That’s the old metal building where he stores all the junk he doesn’t want my cousin to know he still has. They live in town now, but he still comes out to fiddle around with stuff and take his old Swather up to another piece of land he owns so he can play around like he used to when he still farmed outside of Troy, Idaho where they live. To avoid a little confusion – my husband and I are staying in the ranch house where they raised their kids. My husband and I are convinced he won’t sell the place because it gives him a place to go play, and he doesn’t have to listen to my cousin. Enough of that history and back to the jars.

My cousin had already told us we could have all the canning jars she had upstairs, and that is where I found the metal bands for sealing the Economy jars, but neither one of us ever figured I would find the jars.

Also in the boxes of jars she gave us were three or four fancy square jars that say ‘Reliance Wide Mouth Mason’ that have one piece metal lids with the seal already in the lid. I proudly display them in my pantry. As you can see, they work great for beans and black eyed peas and such. I even have one that is square like the Reliance jars, but it says ‘Presto Wide Mouth Mason.’ Who would have thought there were that many different brands of canning jars? Then we were given the boxes of jars in the barn, and we started going through those boxes and cleaning those jars. Heaven! Sorry, I do get a little excited sometimes.

Square Reliance Wide Mouth Canning Jars

Square Reliance Wide-Mouth Canning Jars that I Use in My Pantry

The boxes her husband gave us are even more special, not just because of their age, but because these are jars his mother used when he was a child, and most of them are half gallons. When we started digging through all these jars – honey, you would have thought I had just won the lottery! Needless to say, all the jars are probably more than forty years old. And then to see the old jars that didn’t have screw bands and they said ‘Economy.’ I never figured my husband would ever understand that. To say he doesn’t understand anything like that would be wrong, but there is just something about the word ‘antique’ he cannot fully comprehend. Part of the time the stuff is just really great (tools), and part of the time it is just junk (dishes). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the tools part, too. (Maybe even as much as he does.) The knicky-knacky stuff, however, is a completely different animal for him. I guess it’s one of those ‘man’ things. Until we moved up here and started canning, that is. Now, these jars are almost as priceless to him as they are to me. Back to my story, again.

When I saw the first jar with the magic word – Economy – I was so excited because I knew I had the bands to seal those jars with! I couldn’t remember where they were at the time, but I knew I had them. Alas, I do not have any of the old lids, but I used one of our new fangled lids as an example so you can see how they would have worked. The next big discovery was the ‘Self-Sealing’ jars by Kerr. Obviously there is no way any of these are going to be used for anything except conversation, or in my pantry to look pretty. Then we found the jar with the handle. I have no idea if that jar was intended to be reused, but the lid that is on it fits perfectly, and women in the days before convenience reused everything! The jar with the handle is the one where my husband drew the line. There was no way he was going to let me have all this neat stuff, so he laid claim to it. I can’t complain, though. We have a lot of history in our pantry. Family history.

Kerr Economy Canning Jars With Sealing Tabs

Two Kerr Brand 'Economy' Canning Jars - a Pint and a Half Gallon

How the Kerr Economy Jars Were Sealed

A Basic Idea of How the 'Economy' Canning Jars Were Sealed

An Old Canning Jar With a Handle and Metal Lid

A Jar With a Handle and Metal Lid With Reusable Seal

Inside of Canning Lid Showing Different Seals

A Sample of the Different Rings Including the Seal on the Inside of the Lid