I am an absolute nostalgia junkie. I think this is probably one of the reasons I love shopping at thrift stores, trade lots and yard sales. I do not want to purchase “replica” products, I want to find the real honest to goodness, period true pieces. I love the nicks and chips and scratches on everything from vases to pots and pans. If an antique linen has a small stain, all the better. It shows me that these pieces meant something to their former owners. That they were prized enough to be used lovingly, to grace someone’s table and home. While one person may consider it junk, I consider it a priceless treasure. To me, these pieces are beautiful and hold such sentiment and a link to the past. Which brings me to a gift I received that I am absolutely over the moon happy about!
On a recent visit to my husbands family for the holidays, I was told that his uncle had brought me “some canning jars and stuff” and that they were out in the garage. His mother had recently passed away, and in sorting through her belongings, they were giving items away to family members that they knew would put them to good use. When I went to check them out, these were not just “canning jars and stuff” – oh my gracious, no! These were the absolute most beautiful jars I have ever seen! There were 4 boxes of Blue and Clear Antique Ball Mason jars! I had no idea they even came in blue at any time! I almost wept looking at them. I explained that they must be antiques – were they sure they wanted me to have them? They might be worth money! But, everyone assured me that yes, I was to take them home and do whatever I wanted with them. I brought them home and got them cleaned up. They are so beautiful! The pictures do them no justice.
I did a bit of research on the internet, and it seems that the blue jars could have been made anywhere from 1908 to 1936. I saw them being sold for $2.00 each to $15.00 each. And that’s where I stopped. It does not matter to me what price someone may put on them. To me, they are priceless! I will never sell them. I will not use them in a water bath canner or pressure canner. To me, I cannot take the risk of them breaking. I read this might happen due to their age, and also due to the fact that one of the reasons they stopped making them in blue was because of the mineral content in the glass. Some of them have noticeable air bubbles in the walls of the jar! As you can see in the second picture, a few of them have a wire handle that would lock over the top of a galvanized lid for canning, instead of a screw top.
I’ve decided that I will use these precious pieces to store my dry goods. The jars with a wire handle, I will use as vases this Spring and Summer when my flowers are in bloom. I have beautiful blue Hydrangeas that will look absolutely stunning in them!
Just looking at these jars, thinking of how many generations they have been in this family, makes my heart skip a beat. How many harvests were preserved to feed the family, year after year? How many canning parties were these little beauties privvy to? If only they could talk! Lol! Were they the “special” jars, holding the most prized foods. or were they just used ’cause they had them because the blue made the food look funny?
It doesn’t matter either way to me. They were used each year for the purpose they were intended. They held a bounty to feed a family through the winter. They apparently never failed, and worked hard their whole lives. And now that I have them, I shall make sure they receive a proper retirement, adorning my shelves and tabletops, becoming part of a history that I shall pass down to the next generation. They will be tended with love and care. Their sentimental value to me far outweigh any dollar amount anyone could try and place on them.