Purchase $175 or more and get special FLAT RATE shipping to selected locations! Click here for more Info!

FAQ

Ordering

If you are reading this link, it is likely that you are experiencing difficulties in finalising your order.  We apologise for any frustration you are experiencing and assure you that our tech team are committed to working hard to resolve technical issues as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Please check the following first before contacting us:

1.  Have you created a customer account?  Sometimes check-out issues can be resolved by registering an account before proceeding to payment.
2.  Are you ordering a quantity of the item which is currently not available?  This should appear on the product in your cart as a series of asterisks and a message will appear at the top of the page to advise that the quantity ordered is not available.
3.  Have you provided delivery instructions for the courier in the box at the bottom of the page (this field is required: if it's not relevant just put NA in the box)
4.  Are you using a version of Internet Explorer which is at least IE9?  Our website is not compatible with older versions of IE and you will need to install a different browser.  We recommend Chrome which you can install by using this link.

If you have done all these things please contact us either via a ticket or by phoning 02 6516 1111 (inside our business hours or leave a message if outside of these hours).
We will need to know what type of browser you are using, what the issue is that you are experiencing and we may possibly ask you to send us a screenshot or snip of the problem if you are able to.

Sorry, we no longer offer wholesale through the ozfarmer.com website. We have a dedicated site for our Business wholesale customers at www.pakezy.com.au (You need to be registered with us to view pricing).  This applies to Ball Mason, Weck jars, Ozi products, Bell jars, daisy and straw lids, Cuppow and more.  Volume discounts may be available on some other products.  

Wholesale terms are offered to businesses who have a current ABN and registered business name who wish to establish a long-term relationship with us.  The minimum order to qualify for wholesale terms is $250 (including GST), calculated on the wholesale price and excluding freight.

Discounts such as specials and promotions on ozfarmer.com do not apply to wholesale pricing.

We can organise freight to your door at very reasonable rates and the cost of this freight will be added to your order. 

If you wish to agree to these terms and wish to proceed, please register as a customer here and then email us at sales@ozfarmer.com to request that wholesale pricing enabled.  

You can browse the products available on our website: we do not offer a printed catalogue at this time.

You add the items you wish to order to your online cart and freight will be automatically calculated at checkout.  Generally, the courier delivery option is the most cost-effective for larger orders.

Please note: If you are ordering Pallet quantities this must be delivered to either a business address or your nearest depot.  This is so the order can be signed and delivered successfully. Pallet orders cannot be left without signatures and a redelivery fee will be imposed by the courier which will be passed onto the customer. If you would like it delivered to a residential address, you are more than welcome to contact us with arrangements to have the order picked up by your own courier company. 

Please note that we try to keep our prices as low as possible but periodically must review them as our suppliers generally impose 5% rate rises on an annual basis and the Australian dollar fluctuates by huge percentage points.  

We do not offer a direct drop-shipping service for wholesale customers, but you can set yourself up as an affiliate to generate commissions for orders directly placed through our website.

Please  submit an enquiry through the Contact Us link on our site to contact our wholesale department if you have  any further questions about our policy or if you require a quote.  To avoid any misunderstandings or confusion, we do not offer pricing information over the phone.

Shipping

Yes, of course, you can! Office hours 9am - 3pm Mon to Friday

Please allow at least 24 hours for order processing and ring to confirm your order is ready prior to leaving home.
If the collection is required urgently please check with our warehouse staff (02) 65161111 prior to placing your order so we can let you know if we can help out. Please allow at least 3 hours notice for urgent collections. Unfortunately, due to the huge volume of orders, we process on Mondays we cannot offer same day processing on Mondays.
Note that if you wish to purchase in-store and not on-line our shop prices slightly differ from our online prices due to staffing charges. We will not process pick up orders placed online whilst you are in store, sorry.


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Why shipping charges sometimes seem high and how to get the best rate?

Our shipping calculators are linked directly to Australia Post's and other couriers servers so the rate you see is the rate Australia post, for example, would charge you at the post office. We add nothing extra to this cost or add the cost of packaging your order.

  • As the freight calculators are weight based you can ensure that you are getting the "best bang for your buck" by adding or removing items from your cart.
  • For example; if you had a packet of Ball Mason disposable labels that would weigh about 100g you would be charged about $8.75 (the minimum parcel rate) but, if you bought 6 packets of disposable labels the postage would remain about the same so by buying extra you can sometimes achieve a "Free Shipping" bonus!
  • Add or subtract items to your cart at checkout and after changing the number of items you may notice the shipping charges fall or rise.

For International Orders, please check to see if there will be a customs charge within your own country. We are not responsible for the payment of customs duties to another country.

We will send most orders by various couriers which can include Australia Post.  All items are generally posted within 2-3 business days of receiving payment unless there is an item on backorder or a major sale on, 99% of our orders are despatched the next day after receiving your order.
If you specifically require delivery by a defined method (eg Australia Post vs one of our other courier services, please contact us prior to placing the order to ensure that we can accommodate your requirements.)

Road Express

Is not the fastest option, it is standard road shipping and MUST be sent to a street address. If you choose this option your order CANNOT be sent to a locked bag or a PO Box.  If PO Box, Parcel Locker or Post Office delivery is specifically required, you must elect Parcel Post / Standard Delivery as the delivery option.

Cheaper Shipping Tips!

Our shipping calculators are linked directly to Australia Post's and other couriers servers so the rate you see is the rate Australia post, for example, would charge you at the post office. We add nothing extra to this cost or add the cost of packaging your order. 

  • As the freight calculators are weight based you can ensure that you are getting the "best bang for your buck" by adding or removing items from your cart. 
  • For example; if you had a packet of Ball Mason disposable labels that would weigh about 100g you would be charged about $8.75 (the minimum parcel rate) but, if you bought 6 packets of disposable labels the postage would remain about the same so by buying extra you can sometimes achieve a "Free Shipping" bonus!
  • Add or subtract items to your cart at checkout and after changing the number of items you may notice the shipping charges fall or rise.

For International Orders, please check to see if there will be a customs charge within your own country.  We are not responsible for the payment of customs duties to another country.

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that particular products are able to be imported to your state (particularly seeds to Tasmania and WA).  We do not provide quarantine clearance so if products are seized and destroyed or otherwise treated we will not accept any liability.


If you want to estimate shipping costs:

1.      Add what you are interested in your cart

2.      Click on "Checkout" (top right)

3.      Next, enter just your address (if you are already registered click "Login" or use the Facebook login button this should automatically populate the form)

4.      Look at the right-hand side and you will see various postage options. Standard shipping is road shipping via Australia Post or courier; Road Express is courier shipping to a physical address only (not PO Box or parcel locker) and is generally faster than standard shipping but not the fastest option available.  If you require something urgently or by a certain date Express Shipping is the fastest option available.  Check with us if your delivery is absolutely time critical.
Flat rate shipping is courier shipping only and cannot be delivered to a Parcel Locker, PO Box or Post Office.

Generally, as we have a very large stock base, items that are ordered and paid for by 4 pm will be shipped within 2-3 working days. However, if you want a quantity of a particular item or if we have had an unexpected rush of people buying the same item, we may not have the product in stock to send straight away.  In these rare instances, we will contact you with an estimate of when you can expect to receive the item.  If the item is required urgently or you do not wish to wait we will offer a full refund.

Once the item has been posted we are unable to take responsibility for the time it takes for you to receive your item, especially if you live in a regional area.  If you require an item urgently please choose EXPRESS SHIPPING. This option does just what it says, it ships fast! Your order will move to the front of the normally large queue and if ordered by 9 am EST it will leave that day!  Express shipping is the fastest shipping option we have available, but this does not necessarily mean overnight.  Please allow up to 3 days for express deliveries particularly if you live in a regional area.  If a delivery is required for a weekend and has not been received please contact us before 9am on a Thursday to allow us time to follow up on the delivery.

Please note that with express shipping, we will post it via the FASTEST METHOD POSSIBLE. On occasion, this does not mean that the parcel will arrive overnight as the shipping company simply may not be able to fulfil that request.  We at Ozfarmer will fulfil the shipping request of the customer and ship it via the fastest method possible, but it is ultimately up to the shipping company with their estimated times of arrival.   

If you buy multiple items, the shipping will be automatically calculated. If you are ordering a large number of items, the shipping calculator will be a guide but please contact us for a freight quote on bulk orders.

Special shipping deals.

Some items are marked as free shipping, and this deal applies only to those items.  If there are other items in your cart which do not qualify for free shipping, a delivery fee will be calculated at checkout on these additional items. 
Free shipping items are sent by standard shipping.  If you require the item urgently you will need to arrange with us the cost of express delivery.  Adding other items to your cart and paying for express delivery for them will not automatically entitle you to express shipping for the entire cart and an additional express freight payment will be required for the free shipping or subsidised shipping items. 

Special combined orders

Do you have specific requirements and you don’t see it in our store?  Contact us to discuss what you need and we can create a customised invoice for you.

We do our best to keep our postage costs to a minimum to help you save.  For larger items, you are welcome to use your own carrier and we will help organise shipments.

Large Orders

If your order is deemed too large to be sent by Australia Post, it will need to be sent with a courier.  Couriers require a physical address for all orders.  If the customer is unable to supply a physical address and not a PO Box, additional shipping charges will apply.  This can only be determined once the order has been placed and sent to the warehouse. 

PO Box / Parcel Locker Delivery
Please note that some very large bulky products cannot be delivered by Australia Post and must be delivered via courier.  Dangerous goods such as captive bolt guns and activators, gas and some chemicals can only be delivered via courier and will be transported via special trucks.  As most couriers will not deliver to PO Box or Parcel Locker, we will require a physical address for these items.  For smaller orders, if you specifically require delivery to a PO Box or Parcel Locker please note that  Standard Shipping is the only option available for such addresses.  Note that if you live in rural or remote areas, even if you do not get street delivery, couriers can still be used to deliver to a local business or depot.  If you are not sure please contact us prior to placing your order.


Insurance and Tracking Policy

Damage or shortages must be reported within 7 days of receipt and accompanied by a photo in the case of damage.  If insurance has been purchased we can offer a store credit, part refund or a replacement item (replacements are not offered for international orders).  If items are broken or damaged in products which are sold as sets only and these items are not also sold singly, we can only offer a refund or credit for this, as kits will not be broken down to provide replacements.

Yes, we do offer FLAT RATE SHIPPING to NSW, ACT QLD VICT SA & WA to below postcodes ONLY for products totalling over $175 including GST.

  • Calculated shipping and insurance do not count towards this total, i.e. order TOTAL of products must be at least $175.
  • This applies to selected postcodes only. Sorry, NT, TAS, North Queensland not available yet. Items that are already marked "Free Shipping" are sent free to any postcode in Australia.
  • Maximum weight limit per order of 75kg or a maximum of 20 cases of jars (of any type or weight) in a single purchase 
  • Flat rate shipping is not available for regular bulk purchases or for large wholesale purchases.  Please refer to our wholesale site.
Important: No "PO Boxes" or "Locked Bag" deliveries with this offer. This offer is sent by courier only CANNOT be sent by Australia Post.

NSW
Spend $175 or more including GST and get flat rate $14.95 shipping to these postcodes:

2000, 2006-2012, 2015-2050, 2052, 2060-2082, 2084-2097, 2099-2122, 2125-2130, 2131-2150, 2156, 2158, 2160-2168, 2170-2179, 2190-2200, 2203-2210, 2213-2214, 2216-2234, 2250-2251, 2256-2267, 2278, 2280-2300, 2302-2308, 2314, 2320, 2322-2324, 2431, 2439, 2440-2441, 2443-2446, 2450, 2452, 2454-2456 , 2470, 2472-2474, 2477-2489, 2500, 2502, 2505-2506, 2515-2519, 2522, 2525-2530, 2558-2560, 2564-2570, 2600-2609, 2611-2612, 2614-2620, 2745, 2747, 2749-2750, 2753-2757, 2759-2763, 2765-2770, 2900, 2902-2906, 2911-2914

Victoria

Spend $175 or more including GST and get flat rate $14.95 shipping to these postcodes:

3000, 3002-3006, 3008, 3010-3013, 3015-3016, 3018-3023, 3025-3034, 3036-3058, 3060-3062, 3064-3068, 3070-3079, 3081-3085, 3087-3088, 3093-3095, 3101-3109, 3111, 3121-3138, 3141-3156, 3161-3163, 3165-3175, 3177-3202, 3204-3207, 3800, 3802-3805, 3910-3911, 3976-3977

Qld
Spend $175 or more Including GST and get flat rate $14.95 shipping to these postcodes:

4000, 4005-4014, 4030-4032, 4034-4036, 4051, 4053-4055, 4059-4061, 4064-4069, 4073-4078, 4101-4123, 4127-4129, 4131-4133, 4151-4155, 4157-4161, 4163-4165, 4169-4174, 4178-4179, 4205, 4207-4229, 4270, 4272, 4300-4301, 4303-4305, 4343, 4345, 4350, 4352, 4500-4510, 4514-4519, 4550-4570, 4573, 4575

SA
Spend $175 or more including GST and get flat rate $33.95 shipping to these postcodes:

5118, 5106-5116, 5081-5098, 5072-5076, 5061-5070, 5037-5052, 5031-5035, 5005-5025, 5121, 5125-5127, 5152-5155, 5950, 5000, 5159-5168

WA
Spend $175 or more Including GST and get flat rate $33.95 shipping to these postcodes:

6000, 6003-6012, 6014-6029, 6031, 6050-6057, 6059-6062, 6064-6066, 6090, 6100-6111, 6147-6164

Insurance

Although we take a lot of care packing your order once it’s on the way to you it’s out of our control. The couriers we use are pretty good considering the amount of freight they move, but with any human-run operation, things can go wrong. Insurance covers you for a credit or replacements if the unexpected happens.

What happens if I don’t have insurance?

Insurance will only display for orders over $30 in value: please let us know if you would like to add extra insurance for a smaller order. For these orders, if the item is lost or broken we will arrange a store credit or part refund only.

If you deselect the insurance option you are electing to take your chances with the courier. Please note that this choice will then void any claim on us for items lost or broken in transit.

Yes, we do. in fact, we ship worldwide! Flat rate shipping to New Zealand is now available for up to 20kg in products for a flat rate of AUS$50. This is a good opportunity to keep adding items to your cart until you reach the 20kg threshold to achieve maximum benefit from this offer.

Payments

Affiliates


When you become an Ozfarmer Australia Affiliate, you are accepting the following terms and conditions.


1. TERMS OF WEBSITE USE


The Terms of Use


Ozfarmer Australia owns and operates this website. By using or accessing this website you acknowledge that you have read, understood and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions ("Terms of Use"). If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use this website.


Ownership of Website and Content


Ozfarmer Australia owns the website and, unless otherwise indicated, owns or is licensed to use all content and other material appearing on the website. The material on this website is protected by copyright under the laws of Australia and may not be used without written permission by Ozfarmer Australia. No trade mark (whether registered or not) that is displayed on this website may be used in any way without the prior written permission of Ozfarmer Australia or of the relevant trade mark owner.


Security


Ozfarmer Australia cannot guarantee any data or program available for download on this website (or any linked website) is free of viruses or other spyware, and you agree that you assume the risk of any damage to your computer as a result of using this website.


Third Party Content


This website contains information from or hyperlinks to websites operated by third parties. Ozfarmer Australia provides such information and hyperlinks for your convenience only, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of any such information or website.


Revisions


Ozfarmer Australia may revise these Terms of Use or the Terms of Purchase below at any time in its absolute discretion by posting revised terms, and these revisions will be effective immediately. If any of the terms are found to be unenforceable, you agree that the remainder of the Terms of Use and the Terms of Purchase remain in full force and effect.


Liability


Ozfarmer Australia provides this website and its contents on an "as is" basis, and makes no representation as to the accuracy, completeness, currency or reliability of the information contained on this website. Ozfarmer Australia will not be liable in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise to you for any direct, special, indirect or consequential loss or damage (including loss of profits or loss of data) arising out of or in connection with this website.


Your Privacy is Important


We are committed to protecting the privacy of everyone who shops or interacts with us. Ozfarmer Australia Privacy Policy is published on this website and sets out our commitment to you on privacy, including our use of "cookies".


Governing Law


Ozfarmer Australia operates this website from its offices within Australia. The laws of the New South Wales govern these Terms of Use and the Purchase Terms below, and you agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of New South Wales. You agree to be responsible for compliance with applicable local laws if you access this website outside Australia.


3. TERMS OF PRODUCT PURCHASE


The Agreement


By completing the affiliates application process and advertising products from this website, an agreement exists between you and Ozfarmer Australia once Ozfarmer Australia accepts your application. Each appliaction is a separate agreement.


Affiliates Application


You must complete the Affiliates application process before placing any orders. You warrant that all information and data provided by you is accurate, complete and up to date. You will promptly notify Ozfarmer Australia if there is any change to this information or data. You must take responsibility for the safekeeping of your username and password, as you are liable if an unauthorised person uses your username and password.


Affiliates Payments


Affiliates receive a commission of 5% on any sales made on the Ozfarmer site directed from the your Affiliates site this is payed to the Affiliates  nominated account as requested providing your affiliates account holds at least $50.00 AUD. This will be paid in blocks of $50.


Variation of Products and Price


Ozfarmer Australia reserves the right to vary the prices and information on this website form time to  time.


Canning / Preserving

If you use your Presto Pressure canner in accordance with the instructions it should offer you years of service.  Sometimes things go wrong and in the worst case scenario your canner can be warped.  This is generally not covered by the manufacturer's warranty, however each case is considered on its own merits.  To assess such a claim please provide the following information:

Exactly how much water did you place in your canner?

How many BTUs on the gas stove burner? (if you don't know please advise the type of burner)

What type of food were you canning?

Where was the steam coming from?

Was your regulator rocking? If so, was it rocking fast like a water sprinkler or slow like a train starting out at a station?

Was there any pressure registering in your dial gauge?

Once we have this further information we can assess if this is a situation covered by warranty.

Ball Mason USA

Jar Type

Lid

Height

Shape / design

Capacity

Freeze

Baking

Pressure Canning

Blending

Water Bath & Candlemaking

Fermenting
Requires Fermenting Lid

4oz quilted

Regular
Mouth

55mm

Round quilted

4oz / 120ml

8oz quilted

Regular Mouth

100mm

Round quilted

8oz / 240ml

12oz quilted

Regular
Mouth

135mm

Round quilted

12oz/340ml

Half pint regular

Regular
Mouth

100mm

Round embossed

8oz / 240ml

Elite half pint

Wide
Mouth

55mm

Squarish with rounded shoulders

8oz / 240ml approx

Pint Regular

Regular
Mouth

130mm

Embossed with rounded shoulders

16oz / 440ml approx

Pint wide

Wide
Mouth

120mm

Embossed with straight sides

16oz / 440ml approx

Elite pint

Wide
Mouth

95mm

Squarish with rounded shoulders

16oz / 440ml approx


Heritage blue

Regular
Mouth

130mm

Embossed with rounded shoulders blue colour

16oz / 440ml approx

Pint & Half

Wide
Mouth

173mm

Round tapered with straight sides

24oz / 650ml approx

Quart regular

Regular
Mouth

170mm

Embossed with rounded shoulders

32oz / 950ml approx

Quart wide

Wide
Mouth

165mm

Embossed with rounded shoulders

32oz / 950ml approx

Half gallon

Wide
Mouth

240mm

Embossed with rounded shoulders

64oz / 1900ml approx

Commemorative

125mm

push on

280mm

Embossed with push on lid. Not for preserving

1 gallon /
3.9 litres

To see other jar sizes and uses click here

Weck jars are by far the most versatile jars!
Weck jars sizes and use
Image Name Lid Height Shape / Design Max Capacity Freeze Safe? Baking / Microwave Pressure Canning Water Bath or Candles Fermenting Embossed Logo
80ml mini mold Small 55 mm Round tapered 80ml
1 x 140ml Weck Mini Jar Preserving Candles Canning Jam Salsa Chutney Ball 140ml mini mold Small 69mm Round tapered 140ml
160ml mini mold Small 80mm Round tapered 160ml
165ml mold Med 47mm Round tapered 165ml
290ml mold Med 87mm Round tapered 290ml
370ml Weck Mold Jar 370ml mold Large 69mm Round tapered 370ml
weck 580ml mold jar 580ml Mold Large 107mm Round tapered 580ml
Weck 850ml mold jar 850ml Mold Large 147mm Round tapered 850ml
340ml cylinder jar weck 340mlCylinder Small 130mm Round Straight 340ml
Weck 500ml cylinder jar 500ml Cylinder Small 210mm Round Straight 500ml
Weck 1040ml cylinder jar 1040ml Cylinder Large 210mm Round Straight 1040ml
Weck 1590ml Cylinder Jar 1590ml Cylinder Large 210mm Round Straight 1590ml
220ml Weck Tulip Jar 220ml Mini Tulip Small 80mm Tulp 220ml
500ml Weck Tulip Jar 580ml Tulip Large 85mm Tulip 580ml

BY Autumn Giles

Home preserving is a gracious response to the abundance of a particular place. Preservers are often moved to their work by where they are: a new house with what turns out to be a lemon tree, a neighbor with extra apples too tart to eat out of hand, or the fortune of a favorite hike with a hidden huckleberry patch. Similarly, Johann Carl Weck, founder of the J. WECK Company, manufacturer of the iconic WECK jars, was also inspired by place.

Weck was a teetotaler; he abstained from alcohol and was also a vegetarian. Born in 1841 outside of Frankfurt, he later lived in the historic region of Baden, now part of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, on the east bank of the Rhine River. A region of mountains and fertile valleys, southern Baden was a preserver’s paradise of plum, apple, and cherry orchards and was even well suited for growing walnuts and producing honey.

In these abundant surroundings, temperance-minded Weck was interested in a viable and appealing alternative to using fruit to make alcohol and preserving fruit in alcohol (a popular method at the time). To this end, he purchased a patent that originated with chemist Rudolph Rempel. Rempel put up the bounty of his own home garden in order to perfect his method for preserving food by boiling it in a glass jar with a rubber ring and metal lid weighted with something heavy like a rock. He secured the patent in April 1892, shortly before his untimely death in 1914.

Business took off for Weck, particularly after he reached out to George Van Eyck, a local businessman in the Lower Rhine. Van Eyck, who owned a porcelain and pottery shop, began selling Weck jars in 1895. Van Eyck outsold all other Weck purveyors in Germany, demonstrating to Weck that he was a standout salesman. The energy and mind for sales that Van Eyck brought to the young company led Weck to invite him to take over sales for the entire country. Together Weck and Van Eyck officially founded the J. Weck Company on January 1, 1900. Within two years, Weck jars began to be sold outside of Germany in countries such as France, Switzerland, and Austria.

Georg van Eyck, courtesy of J. WECK

Insisting on a comprehensive approach when selling the jars, Van Eyck always worked to educate potential customers on the practical aspects of preserving. In 1902, when Weck left the firm, providing this sort of education was one of the ways that Van Eyck continued to grow the company. Using a model that he developed when he first began selling the jars, he partnered with the experts in home preserving at the time to offer cooking classes and promote the spread of canning in religious and community centers. In keeping with this business philosophy, WECK produced a home and garden magazine for over 95 years.

As he stoked his potential customers’ interest in home preserving, Van Eyck also made improvements to the jars’ design and function. He trademarked WECK and created the strawberry logo with the word “WECK” across the center. It was one of the first trademarks in Germany, and the strawberry logo is still used by the company today.

Not surprisingly, the time around both World War I and World War II proved difficult for the company. During World War I business suffered gravely when all of WECK’s trade agreements with other European countries came to a halt and before the end of World War II, three of the company’s factories were subject to property seizures. After World War II, the company began production at a factory near Bonn, Germany, where they continue to manufacture jars, as well as other commercial glass products such as soda bottles and their ubiquitous glass blocks. The headquarters of the company are still in Öflingen, Germany, where the company was started over 100 years ago.

Contemporary WECK jars consist of a glass lid, glass jar, rubber ring, and two stainless steel clamps. The clamps, which can be removed after water-bath processing, provide the pressure that weights did in Rempel’s version of the jars. The rubber ring, which is heated to help produce a seal, is the only part of the jar that needs to be replaced with repeated use.

The Mason jar, named after John Landis Mason who first invented and patented it in 1858, is a molded glass jar used in home canning to preserve food. The jar's mouth has a screw thread on its outer perimeter to accept a metal ring (or "band"). The band, when screwed down, presses a separate stamped steel disc-shaped lid against the jar's rim. An integral rubber ring on the underside of the lid creates a hermetic seal. The bands and lids usually come with new jars, but they are also sold separately. While the bands are reusable, the lids are intended for single use when canning. Largely supplanted by other products and methods for commercial canning, such as tin cans and plastic containers, glass jars and metal lids are still commonly used in home canning. Mason jars are also called Ball jars, in reference to the Ball Corporation, an early and prolific manufacturer of glass canning jars; fruit jars for a common content; and glass canning jars a generic term reflecting their material. Lightning fruit jars, another type of Mason jar, was not as common as the screw-thread version, but they were popular for home canning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The jar

A wide-mouth Mason jar filled with pickles

In the United States, standard-size Mason jars are made of soda-lime glass and come in two sizes: regular mouth, 2 38 in (60 mm) inner and 2 34 in (70 mm) outer diameter, and wide mouth, 3 in (76 mm) inner and 3 38 in (86 mm) outer diameter, versions. They are also produced in a variety of volumes, including cup (half-pint), pint, quart, and half-gallon.

Among the most common U.S. brands of Mason jars are Ball, Kerr, and Golden Harvest. Jarden Corporation, based in Boca Raton, Florida,retains the license to use the Ball and Kerr registered trademarks on home-canning products as a part of its branded consumables business. At one time Jarden also may have had a license to use the Golden Harvest brand; however, Jarden’s website did not list Golden Harvest as one of its brands as of March 2016. In Canada, Bernardin, which is another division of Jarden, is the most common brand; Golden Harvest is also available. Jarden offers its Canadian jars in metric volumes of 125ml, 250ml, 500ml and 1 litre.

Use

Mason jar lids and bands. The integral soft rubber ring on the underside of the lid seals onto the rim of the jar during processing.

In home canning, food is packed into the jar, leaving some empty "head space" between the level of food and the top of the jar. The lid is placed on top of the jar with the integral rubber seal resting on the rim. A band is screwed loosely over the lid, allowing air and steam to escape. The jar is heat sterilized in boiling water or steam and the lid is secured. The jar is then allowed to cool to room temperature.

The cooling of the contents creates a vacuum in the head space, pulling the lid into tight contact with the jar rim to create a hermetic seal. Once cooled, the band is removed to prevent residual water between the jar threads and the lid from rusting the band. If the jar seal is properly formed, internal vacuum will keep the lid tightly on the jar. Most metal lids used today are slightly domed to serve as a seal status indicator. The vacuum in a properly sealed mason jar pulls the lid down to create a concave-shaped dome. An improper or failed seal or microbial growth will cause the dome to pop upward.

History

Among the earliest glass jars used for home canning were wax sealers, named in reference to the sealing wax that was poured into a channel around the lip to secure a tin lid. This process, which was complicated and error-prone, became popular in the late 1830s or early 1840s and was commonly used for sealing fruit jars from the early 1850s until about 1890. The wax sealing process was largely the only one available until other sealing methods were developed, and widely used into the early 1900s.

By far the most popular and longest used form of closure for the glass canning jar was a zinc screw-on cap, the precursor to today's screw-on lids. It usually had a milk-glass liner, but some of the earliest lids may have had transparent glass liners. In 1858, a Philadelphia tinsmith named John Landis Mason(1832–1902) invented and patented a screw finish glass jar or bottle that became known as the Mason jar (U.S. Patent No. 22,186.) From 1857, when it was first patented, to the present, Mason jars had hundreds of variations in shape and cap design. After it was discovered that Mason's patent had expired, many other manufacturers produced glass jars for home canning using the Mason-style jar. "Patent Nov 30th 1858," signifying the date of Mason's patent, was embossed on thousands of jars, which were made in many shapes, sizes, and colors well into the 1900s. Since they were made in such quantity and used for such long periods, many of them have survived to the present day.

Between 1860 and 1900, many other patents were issued for Mason jar improvements and closures. The more esoteric closures were quickly abandoned and thus can fetch high prices in today's antique market. Mason applied for and received a United States trademark, which was registered on May 23, 1871, as U.S. Trademark no. 276. Letters of patent issued to Mason on May 10, 1870, for improvements to his fruit-canning jar was determined to be invalid as a result of a patent infringement case brought before the Southern District of New York on June 11, 1874. The court acknowledged that Mason had invented the jar in 1859, but he did not apply for a patent for an improved version of the fruit jar until 1868. In the meantime, several others had patented designs and Mason had known these jars were being produced and sold. The court ruled that Mason's delay in protecting his patent indicated he had abandoned his invention in the intervening years between 1859 and 1868 and had forfeited his patent. The court's decision allowed other manufacturers to patent, produce, and sell glass jars for canning.

One of the more popular styles of closures for the Mason jar was the wire bail. The closure consists of a metal wire arrangement with a lever that applies leverage to a glass lid when pivoted downward against the side of the jar, clamping it down over a separate rubber O ring. The bail-style jars are still widely used in Western Europe, particularly France and Italy, where the two largest manufacturers (France's Le Parfait and Italy's Bormioli Rocco) produce the Le Parfait and Fido brands, respectively. While bail-type jars are widely available in the United States, they are generally marketed there exclusively for dry storage and only rarely used for home canning.

On January 5, 1875, Charles de Quillfeldt of New York City invented a wire-bail closure known as the Lightning closure. Within a short time he sold the patent rights to several individuals, including Henry Putnam and Karl Hutter. The stopper or lid was typically made from metal, porcelain, or ceramic, while a rubber gasket was used to seal the container. Putnam modified de Quillfeldt's design so that the lid was secured by centering the wire bail between two raised dots or in a groove along the lid's center. Putnam's closure was patented 1882 (U.S. Patent #256,857).

De Quillfeldt used the term "Lightning" to refer to the sealing method, but the closure's popular use on fruit jars led to the name, Lightning fruit jar. The sealing surface on the jar was a "shelf" that supported the lower edge of the lid. A rubber gasket between the shelf and the bottom surface of the lid formed a secure seal when the wire closure was tightened. Although Lightning jars were popular for home canning use from the early 1880s to the early 1900s, they were not as common as screw-thread Mason jars. The first U.S.-made brand of jars to use this type of closure was embossed with "Lightning" on the side.

A new type of Mason jar known as a "bead" jar was introduced around 1910 to 1915. These continuous screw-thread jars were designed with a bead between the screw threads and the shoulder as a sealing surface. The Ball Perfect Mason jar, one of the most common jars of this style, was introduced around 1913 and produced until the mid-twentieth century. It had several variations, including a square-shaped jar. During the twentieth century, bead jars were sealed with two-piece metal lids. The jar lid had a rubber or rubber-like sealing surface and was held in place by a separate metal band. This type of jar and closure, which first became popular in the late 1910s and 1920s, is still in use.

The decline in Mason jar manufacturing in North America is due to several factors: the lack of U.S.-based manufacturers of bail-closure jars since the early 1960s, a sharp decline in popularity of home canning in the 1950s and 1960s, consolidation of the U.S. canning jar industry, and the resulting higher cost of imported European-made jars. The Ball Corporation, who once dominated the market as the largest domestic manufacturer of home-canning jars, no longer produces Mason jars; it exited the home-canning business in 1993.

Older styles of home canning jars are "Not Recommended" by the U.S.-based National Center for Home Food Preservation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and University Extension Services. These include: (A) those using a zinc cap and a rubber jar ring, and (B) those using a glass lid, wire bail, and rubber sealing ring. These provide "no definitive way to determine if a vacuum seal is formed."

Collecting

Antique Mason jars.

The value of a jar is related to its age, rarity, color, and condition. A jar's age and rarity can be determined by the color, shape, mold and production marks of the glass, and the jar's closure. Mason jars usually have a proprietary brand embossed on the jar. Early jars embossed with "Mason's Patent November 28th 1858" that date from the late 1850s to early 1860s closely match the illustrations of Mason's 1858 patents. Mouth-blown jars embossed with a version of "Mason's Patent November 28th 1858" were made about 1857 to 1908. By 1908 semi-automatic machines manufactured the majority of these jars. Machine-made Mason jars that originated around 1909 have a sealing surface on a bead ledge below the threads. This type of jar dominated the market by the mid to late 1910s. Manufacturers continued to make jars with the beaded seal after the mid-twentieth century. Ball's "Ideal" canning jar, which first appeared around 1915 and was discontinued in 1962, is one of the company's best-known jars and is popular among collectors.

Colored jars were considered better for canning because the color blocked some light from reaching the food, which helps to retain flavor and nutritional value longer. Most antique jars that are not colorless are aqua or "Ball blue," a blue-green shade that was named for the Ball Corporation, a prevalent jar manufacturer. Most mouth-blown Mason jars embossed with some type of 1858 patent date were produced in aqua glass. The Ball brand of Mason jars were manufactured in several colors, but the most common color was the distinctive "Ball blue," which the Ball Corporation used in its jars from about 1910 to 1930. Mason jars with this particular color of glass may be attributed to Ball, since "virtually no other bottle or jar was made in that color." More rarely, jars will turn up in amber, and occasionally in darker shades of green. Rarer still are cobalt blue, black, and milk-glass jars. Some unscrupulous dealers will irradiate jars to bring out colors not original to the jar.