The Lightning jars were made by a number of glass companies in several states including Lyndeboro Glass, Lindboro, NH; Edward H. Interestingly, Putnam was living in San Diego at the time but it is not known if any California company made his jars glass.
Everett of Newark, OH; Hazel Glass of Washington, PA; JP Smith of Pittsburgh, PA; Moore Brothers in Clayton, NJ; Mannington Glass of Mannington, WV; Wellsburgh Glass and Mfg. The Lightning jars come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes and can be a collecting specialty in and of themselves.
At the end of the day the blower and his team would get paid for the amount of jars they produced as determined by the number of jars made with a given number on them. Later, when glass making went to machine the numbers represented the mold or machine the jar was made from (usually 4-8 molds per machine or one to several machines per factory.) That way the plant manager could check quality control, production, etc.
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They had come to my in-laws by way of an aunt who used to do a lot of canning. When I was going through them on Saturday in the garage, I think I let out a squeal when I saw these little beauties. I’ve been canning for awhile and I’ve never seen this shape of half-pints before. I have about a dozen of the round, straight shoulder Kerr “Economy” quart jars pictured on the left and another dozen of the squat Kerr pint-size wide-mouth jars on the right.
But when I saw the labels on some of the boxes, I became kinda excited – don’t they seem rather old to you?
These familiar jars with their glass lids and wire bales are still found in novelty stores today.
In 1882, Henry William Putnam of Bennington, Vermont, invented a new kind of fruit jar by adopting a bottle stopper patent by Charles de Quillfeldt.
The Lightning jars became popular because the glass lids prevented food contact with metal, the metal clamps were cheap to produce and the lids themselves were much easier to seal and remove.