By Debbie and Randy Coe

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Ball Bicentennial Fruit Jar
by Debbie and Randy Coe

The original Ball Ideal fruit jar was first made in 1915 by the Ball Brothers Company. This jar was machine made instead of being blown like other ones from this company. Through the years the jar had only minor changes made to it before being discontinued in 1962.

In 1974 with the nation’s Bicentennial coming in two years, President John Fisher, thought the time had come to revive the Ideal jar. It was decided to use the original design as a basis for a commemorative issue. A sample of the Ideal in flint glass was done in October 1974. There were 75 of these made. On the front was Ball Ideal and on the back was a medallion. This design consisted of an embossed eagle with a 5 point star above its head inside an oval with a stippled background. Later, the jar was sampled in a Milk Glass color with only 30 being made. All of these sample jars went to employees of the company who had been involved with the development of the jar.

The first production of the jar began in December 1974, in the characteristic Ball blue-green color, that would be sold in 1975. The medallion now had the addition of the words Bicentennial Celebration 1776- 1976 inside the oval. The jars were packed with the rubber rings like the original canning jars contained. At the bottom it said, Made in USA. On the bottom of the jar was the number of 75 for the year it was sold. Packed inside the jars was a paper brochure with a brief history of the company. On the front it said- The Ball Ideal A Bicentennial Salute. On the back it said- The Ball Ideal, An Historic Reproduction, Ball Corporation, Consumer Products Div., Muncie, Indiana.

There were 5000 special limited edition jars also made in 1974 as presentation gifts in the same blue-green color. The addition of the signature of Edmund Ball, a former company president, was put on the back across the eagle. These jars were not offered for sale and were awarded as gifts within the company. These jars are of course much harder to find today.

More of these jars continued to be made during the actual Bicentennial year of 1976. The jars were marked on the bottom with 76 to signify the year they were made.

After the Bicentennial was over, the Ball Corporation decided to keep making these jars as storage items. To distinguish them from the Bicentennial ones, the words Bicentennial Celebration 1776-1976 Made in USA were removed. The jars also no longer had the number on the bottom of them. In addition the stippled background around the eagle was also removed and now just had a smooth surface.

All of these jars make wonderful additions to your fruit jar collection and also serve in your kitchen as a storage item. The rubber ring on them along with the glass lid and wire bail provides a tight seal to keep your items stay fresh. Another advantage is that they are made of glass and free of toxins that plastic items can have in them. Being made of glass also allows you to instantly see what is being stored in the jar.




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Copyright 2004 © Debbie and Randy Coe