Who Was It?


In 1919 an old inventor, noted for his patented fruit jar, tried to resurrect his career by asking the Ball Brothers to make his jar.  Here is a transcript of the original letter in Minnetrista’s collection:


Ball Bros. Glass Manuf. Co. Jan’ 2nd 1919

Muncie Indiana


Dear Sirs:  I am using some 400 of your make of jars. Some Mason and the rest of your Lightning fastener.  I am enclosing a card of a jar invented by me in 1881.  I had a 3 year contract with a partner and 5 factories made the jar for us, in that time we sold 200,000 dollars worth.  He cheated me out of my share of profits and I tied it up.  He is dead now.  I made all the trimmings for the fasteners.  It is absolutely the best fruit keeper I ever used.  I get orders every year for them, but fill them I cannot.  I thought possibly you might take a notion to manufacture some.  I have all the tools to make the fasteners.  They can be made cheap and are perfect fasteners.  We sold over 16,000 dollars worth of jars in Indiana and a larger number in Ohio.  If this interests you, kindly let me hear from you.

Yours truly,


I have left off the signature, to make you wonder and maybe do some thinking.  Who was this old jar maker?  Ball Brothers responded to this letter by asking him to send a sample jar.  Did Ball eventually make his jar?  Find out in next month’s Glass Chatter.




Written by Richard H. Cole, Jr.

 © 2002 Minnetrista Cultural Center

This article first appeared in the September 2002 issue of the Glass Chatter.