Ball Ideal Jars (BBB)


I love old jars, and I am so happy that Georgia gave me these three Ball Ideal bail wire jars before I had to hit her over the head and steal them. I put dried orange slices in the quart jar, just because I thought it looked pretty, and set all three of them in the window over my kitchen sink where I can gaze upon them lovingly throughout the day.

From what I can find, Ball starting making the Ideal jars in 1915, though my jars can’t be any older than 1933 based on a chart I found online showing the progression through the years of the Ball inscription. The style of lettering in the Ball name on my jars was used between 1933 and 1960.

The chart with the varying Ball inscriptions over the years is neat to look at and compare to your own jars. I never noticed the subtle differences in the lettering style until I studied the chart. Then I had to run around and look at the lettering on all my old jars. You can find the chart here. (Scroll down–it’s near the bottom of the page.)

When you get back from running around to compare the lettering on all your old jars to the chart, we have a BBB! Last BBB of 2010!


Ball Blue BookIt’s a Ball Blue Book Project day! Today’s Ball Blue Book is sponsored by the Country School Retreat in Anamosa, Iowa.

For a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. You can just put (BBB) at the end of your comment or otherwise note that you want to be in the draw. One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive a Ball Blue Book. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight (December 28). This post will be updated with the winner by 9 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow (December 29). Return to this post to claim your book if your name is drawn (or check the BBB Winners List).

Find out more about the Ball Blue Book Project and become a sponsor.

UPDATE 12/29/10: The winning comment number, drawn by, is #120, pmilholl2. Email me at CITRgiveaways(at) with your full name and address for shipping!



  1. Christina S. says:

    Love your jars! My lady I get eggs from gave me one a while ago – a pretty blue color. Love it!

  2. Blessings says:

    I have a few of these jars given to by my Grandmother they are cherished…Would Love a BBB..

  3. Karen says:

    Love the jars…..would love BBB

  4. Sherie Adams says:

    I have some old jars, but none like that. I’ve been busy picking out my seeds in the “dreamy” seed catalogs (what would we do in the winter without seed catalogs?). . . please enter me for the drawing – BBB!

  5. Denise says:

    I’d love to have the BBB – it would make a great birthday present for me today πŸ™‚

  6. Lynda Treen says:

    Oh just LOVE the new jars. And LOVE the BBB!! Thank you for a chance to win.

  7. WatkinsGal says:

    Made me look…According to the “chart”, I have two blue jars made between 1923-1933! I display them on a kitchen shelf and store dried beans in them. I never knew how old they were. Thanks for the link. …and yes, BBB please!

  8. justdeborah2002 says:

    For Christmas my daughter gave me a pressure canner, so I can start on this wonderful journey of canning…so yes, I would love to be entered for the BBB giveaway!

  9. Phyllis says:

    Great minds think alike! My old canning jars are also in my kitchen window. One has dried orange peel vs. your slices in it. They truly are wonderful to look at and since alot of my time is spent at the sink… well where better to put them?
    Please enter me in the BBB draw.

  10. Mary Hall says:

    Hi Sue, Love the jars…I have some also, stolen from not only my
    Gma, but my mom also ;). Oh, and by the way, yes, I would LOVE the new BBB book.
    Mary :reindeer:

  11. Enjay says:

    I love the old style jars. We had a huge green one that my mom used for flour, I think my great grands used it for pickles.
    I would appreciate being entered in the BBB contest. Thanks!

  12. patricia(ticka1) says:

    would love a bbb book!!! I loaned mine out and haven’t gotten it back! please enter me in the giveaway

  13. PossumManor says:

    We bought six of the old jars at Goodwill a few months ago….a dollar apiece. Pretty good huh?

    I would love to be in the contest.

  14. Peggy says:

    I learn something new every day on your blog. Please enter me in the give away. The oranges are so pretty in the “Old Jars”.

  15. B. Ruth says:

    That’s what I’m talking about….I could just reach in that jar and pick me out a orange slice and it like a pickled peach….so pretty…I’ll take one of those BBB’s for my son that didn’t get one this Christmas the other one(canning son) got a BBB….

  16. Kathy in FL says:

    I wish I had some old jars like yours. I love all sorts of jars, not just canning jars, much to my DH’s dismay. Someday, somebody will be recycling all my jars. BBB!

  17. brookdale says:

    Love the old Ball jars…my sis has some blue ones, wish she’d give me one! And I’d LOVE to win the BBB, please sign me up!

  18. Zusiqu says:

    I think it is amazing those jars hold up so well over the years! BBB please.

  19. annabel52 says:

    Wow sign me up. I have a couple of those jars. Now I have to spend half the day running around and checking my jars on the web site.
    Sign me up for BBB

  20. Anke says:

    I love those old canning jars! Every once in a while I can still find some here at a thrift store and if the price is right, I’ll take them home with me.
    BBB please.

  21. Lisabeth Olson says:

    I have a neighbor that I am going to teach to pressure can chicken today, I would love to give her one if I win, so PLEASE enter me for Julie.

    I have a array of those jars from my mother in law with lids and bands. I remember when that was all we had in Virgiinia to use when I was a child. I HAVE TO SPONSOR one if these give a ways. Love U Suzanne!!!! :fairy:

  22. Kathleen H In Indiana says:

    I am going to collect all my old Ball jars and date them today, thanks! Would love BBB!
    Thanks Suzanne and Happy New Year!

  23. texwisgirl says:

    You’re too cute! There are much worse things to be obsessed with, so I appreciate your addiction to these neat old jars! πŸ™‚

  24. rileighsmom1 says:

    Please enter me in the drawing! Thank you. : )

  25. Blyss says:

    How cool are those jars?! Would love to win the book.

  26. Mark Garner says:

    I would love to have a BBB

  27. Julie Hardie says:

    How cool is that…would love it!!! BBB

  28. Gwen Holderfield says:

    Hey Suzanne, Happy New Year! I would love to have this book to help
    me with my canning this year. Hope to get a pressure canner for my
    upcoming birthday. Thanks in advance for your consideration. BBB

  29. T M says:

    Thanks for all the info on your Jars.. They were made in Muncie IN not far from where I live.

  30. Sheri says:

    Would love to have the BBB

  31. Julia says:

    My daughter started collecting the Blue Ball jars this year and we also started trying to date my old jars, so much fun. Please put me in for the BBB. Thanks.

  32. cmgrob says:

    My garden is resting now under the snow – but my mind is already moving toward next sumer’s bounty. I would love that book! BBB

  33. windspiritwhimsies says:

    What a wonderful way to start the New Year! Would love to learn about canning! Please enter me for the BBB-thanks! :woof:

  34. irishhillstrish says:

    BBB entry for me, thanks! Is anyone as tired as I am today? πŸ™‚

  35. Bonnie says:

    I use my old jars for salad dressings when company comes. BBB!

  36. hershiesgirl says:

    I don’t need the BBB, but I couldn’t help but share your joy on the jars! I have several old wire bail jars, as well as old blue jars with well worn zinc lids, I even have a couple of blue wire bail jars! I LOVE them. They make me want to smile every time I see them in the pantry. Funny how such a simple thing can warm your heart! ~Jackie

  37. Joanne Semanie says:

    I have a lot of these jars – come from a family of canners. You can still get the rubbers for them – I actually processed pickles in them a couple of years ago. No one died. I would love the BBB.

  38. Kathi says:

    Happy New Year! I’d love to win the BBB.

  39. Amanda says:

    I’d love a BBB for a late Christmas present!

  40. Gerry says:

    Thanks for showing the different logos. I have some old Ball jars and now I can find out how old they really are. I would love a BBB.

  41. ladybird_1959 says:

    Canning season is coming and I could really use that BBB! :snoopy:

  42. Linda Goble says:

    Love your jars. I will have to check mine. Please put me in the drawing for BBB. Thank you.

  43. Glenie says:

    Love the jars, wish mine were in that great a shape. BBB

  44. Suzanne Gonzalez says:

    BBB if you please, now I’m off to check out all of my jars!! :sheep:

  45. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Thanks for that link. Now I’ll spend half the day comparing all my jars!


  46. andrea pierce says:

    Yay! Another BBB! Please count me in. And I don’t blame you for considering mugging Georgia for the jars. The heart wants what the heart wants!

  47. Renee says:

    Would love to have a BBB!

  48. Claudia says:

    I love the old jars and would love the BBB, While Ross has been home for the holidays with you, I’ve been in Charlestob, SC, where we had a dusting of snow yesterday morning, a treat for the lowcountry. (Home for me is Ohio). Enjoy the rest of the season.

  49. Faith says:

    BBB! Please, please, please!

  50. KristenA says:

    Those jars are beautiful. BBB please.

  51. Ramona says:

    I have several old Ball jars. I would like to be in the drawing for the BBB.

  52. Cyndi B says:

    Thanks for the link to view the lettering style for the old jars. I have a couple and can’t wait to compare! BTW…count me in for the BBB giveaway…thanks!

  53. Christy Miller says:

    Good morning, Lots of snow,hot coffee, and the “Wonder Cat”. Gave me a good laugh.And now, another chance for a BBB.

  54. Sue says:

    I have a bunch of blue jars sitting in a box in the basement. Now I’ll have to go see how old they are! BBB

  55. Brigitte says:

    It’s fascinating what you can find on the internet!!


  56. Vivian Roberts says:

    I have some of the blue jars one was my grandmothers, its a number 13 you know the number on the bottom. I heard that back in the day that they wouldnt use the number 13 jar for food because it was bad luck, do you know if this is true or not? Anyway I love these jars and yes I would love to win, BBB

  57. bubbashome says:

    would love to win a bbb!

  58. BrendaE says:

    Would love to have a BBB – I love those jars you got for xmas also. I just love jars anyway of any kind.

  59. Marjorie Wolson says:

    My parents collected many old bottles in the woods at their house. They live on Mason’s Neck in Northern Virginia and the old road that ran down the peninsula to Gunston Hall goes across their property. For years, people would just throw their junk in piles and mom & dad found old canning jars and apothecary jars, even some old enough to have the necks hand blown. You can learn about dating old bottles here:

    “At the height of the industrial revolution, glass manufacturers quickly adapted mass production techniques — instead of molding or shaping the whole bottle by hand in the open air, as was originally done. It was found that by blowing the molten glass into prepackaged molds greatly simplified the process.

    However, the technology to mass-produce the whole bottle did not appear at once. It came in small steps. At first molds could only be used to create the lower parts of the bottle. The neck and lid would then have to be done (just as in the old days) by hand. But as time when on and the molding technology would increase and allow for this.”

    That is a long way of saying Please enter me to win the Blue Ball book!

  60. Debbie says:

    I want to be in the drawing for this BBB!

  61. Lise says:

    I love the old canning jars passed to me by my grandmother. She gave me lots of Ball and Atlas jars. I’d love to win BBB!

  62. Susan says:

    I love the old blue Ball jars — I am the proud owner of one but it does not have the wire closure. Mine has a zinc (some kind of metal) top. Love it and would love to win BBB!

  63. Gini says:

    I had no idea you could tell the age by the lettering! How cool! BBB me. πŸ™‚

  64. Miss Becky says:

    Suzanne those jars are lovely, I can see why you would want to steal them. Thanks Country School Retreat, for sponsoring this giveaway. And one of these days I’m going to win a BBB! BBB me.

  65. Katheine Jenson says:

    :fairy: I love canning and knowing the winter winds can howl away…but my family will be well fed! I have a few old jars from my aunt who canned everything. I love them and would not part with them for the world! PleaseI would like BBB!

  66. Naomi says:

    suzanne thanks for a veryfun 2010 i hope you and your kids have a great 2011, i want in the drawing too

  67. Sundownr / Bev says:

    Supposedly, the bail-wire canning jars with good gasket seals make good containers for fermenting pickles, slaw, etc., as built-up gas can escape but air cannot enter to spoil the food. I have over a dozen of the jars to experiment with and I’m thrilled to see the lettering chart so I might put a date to them, too.

    Thank you!

    (I have a couple BBB, so DO NOT include me in the drawing)

  68. Barbie says:

    I have a large collection of canning jars, mostly for canning πŸ˜† My Grandma gave me some of her jars, some are old enough that I don’t use them to can. I made a quick survey of my pantry shelves (of the jars in front) and found a blue ball jar with wire and lid from 1910-1923. I can hardly wait to look for more! Thanks for the information about Ball jars. BBB, please,!

  69. JoyceAnn says:

    Would love a chance to win the BBB , now I’m going to check-out my jars.

    ~ Be Blessed ~

  70. jan~n~tn says:

    Love your jars. Please enter me in BBB.

  71. Robin says:

    I would love, love, love to win the BBB ! :heart:

  72. Nancy Stickler says:

    BBB Please! I have a couple of blue, wire top Ball jars and I was wondering how old they were so thank you (once agin) for the link! Suzanne, I was thrilled to find your books available on Kindle!

  73. Diane says:

    I would like to win the book, BBB.

  74. patrice says:

    I’d like to win the BBB for my daughter.

  75. claudia w says:

    Georgia is such a great woman to give those Ball Jars! What a wonderful gift.
    I think the dried orange slices is a good idea for the jar. So pretty.
    I would love a BBB!

  76. Alicia says:

    I just received a box of old jars from a friend! I would love the BBB!!

  77. Laura says:

    Please put my name in the hat! BBB

  78. Michele says:

    Now I am going to be looking for these jars at garage sale!!! They are very cool! BBB please, I would love to win a book. :snoopy:

  79. ladychef says:

    BBB Thanks to Country School Retreat for another chance to win!

  80. Lana says:

    Got a pressure canner for Christmas – can hardly wait to get started!! I have a BBB, but would love to get one for my daughter-in-law. We live cross country from each other, but are planning to get together and have a canning session this fall. Thanks for the opportunity!

  81. Lee in KY says:

    I’d enjoy winning the BBB. I’ve always loved their old bail-wire jars, while I don’t own one I do have the blue jars with the zinc lids.

  82. cricketjett says:

    BBB, please.

  83. Rachel says:

    Isnt that the perfect gift for you!? I’m excited to use the chart on my own old jars! I never noticed the subtle differences wither, and now I’m curious! BBB Please!

  84. geena22 says:

    ooo i want BBB this will BBB MY cHRISTMAS PRESENT.

  85. sal says:

    I don’t have a single ‘old’ glass jar. Whine, whine. If I win the book I’ll have some consolation… BBB come to me!

  86. Sharon Skelton says:

    I am an Oregon Farm Girl and would love to win the BBB! Happy New Year to you and your family…I hope this year bring you a barn!

  87. Linda T. says:

    please count me in! Happy New Year, all!

  88. Lisa W says:

    Thank you for the chance of winning BBB. Happy New Year!

  89. melissashea68 says:

    Thank you for the link! Please enter me for the BBB!

  90. maryann says:

    Happy New Year btw, I wish they would make those types of jars again. If they do I haven’t found any up my way. I would like a chance for the BBB.

  91. Mim says:

    enter me……do you have any # 13 jars? :pawprint:

  92. Renee Leveque says:

    I love those old jars! I wish I had some!

  93. Grammie Earth says:

    I would still love to be able to give my sweet DIL the BBB!

  94. Carol Berridge says:

    I copied the listing for the dates of the jars. Most of mine are in the 1910-1923 years. I have a few blue jars. Beautiful aren’t they

  95. mygirls01 says:

    I would love to be entered and those jars are really pretty!! and thanks for the link to the Ball chart! I am going to check and see how old some of my jars I had been wondering about are now!

  96. Su says:

    I love the old jars! They make me think of my grandparent’s place in VT when I was little. :happyflower: BBB

  97. Richelle says:

    Yes, I would love to win the BBB!

  98. northcountrygirl says:

    Please enter me in your BBB drawing. Thank you. BBB

  99. Patricialynn says:

    I have two dozen canning jars that I haven’t been able to use to can in, since I don’t have a canner (plan to get one soon though). But the jars come in handy for all sorts of things…for example, we have been buying those little jars of yeast for bread baking, because it was a better buy than the packets (I make about eight loaves a week). But yesterday I discovered a 2 lb. bag of yeast for only a dollar more than the little 4 oz. jars I’ve been buying.

    My husband was skeptical – his worry was how would I keep the yeast dry once the bag was opened? I grinned and said “Canning jars!”…and he smiled and bought the large bag.

    Canning jars are totally worth having – even if you don’t yet have a canner. BBB!

  100. Granny B says:

    Merry Christmas. So nice to see you have your lovely family with you. I would like a BBB.

  101. Tonya says:

    I’ll have to run around and look at my jars too! BBB please…..and Merry Christmas!

  102. Melanie J. says:

    I want to start preserving and would love BBB!

  103. Melanie says:

    BBB please and thank you. Happy new Year!

  104. Rosemeri B. says:

    I have a large collection of Ball jars too. I just love them. Some have wire bale tops and some have the old zink screw tops. BBB please.

  105. Amanda aka Salamander says:

    Enter me in the BBB please!

  106. lavenderblue says:

    So I ran out to the kitchen to “date” my bail wire canning jar. Except it’s not a “Ball”, it’s an “Atlas”. Anybody have a chart for them?
    So now I so want to copy this chart and carry it with me, garage sale-ing and flea marketing, except it sounds like the author asks that you don’t. I will re-read.

    I also have a jar with a bail wire and a zinc lid. I don’t think it has a little bail wire for clamping the lid down though, just one for carrying. My dad used it as a make shift thermos, sometimes. It doesn’t have any markings except small ones on the bottom that mean absolutely nothing to me as far as identifying it.

    Anyway, even though my bail canning jars aren’t Ball, can I still be in the “I want a BBB, please” club?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      lavenderblue, the author of the site was just requesting it not be recopied and reposted on other websites (which is why I only showed it sort of distantly in my photo with my jar, where you can’t see the details or dates, and linked to it). I’m sure he would think it was wonderful for people to print it out for personal use to take with them to thrift stores and yard sales!

  107. Lanette says:

    Thanks for the chart. I’m printing it out and putting it in my purse for Thrift Store/Yard Sale referencing! Would love a BBB!

  108. JOJO says:

    :woof: Love old canning jars, I recently emptied out one of my old flat wall cupboards in the kitchen and put everything from my pantry such as meals, pasta, and dried beans in them, I used the old blue jars with the zinc lids and then used the half pints for spices. I dont can anymore, but I always put my store bought jams and jellies in the old jars, they look much nicer on the table— I really like the way it looks, and every thing is visable and so handy.

  109. Melissa (N4M) says:

    Need BBB!!!

  110. lavenderblue says:

    Oh, and Patricalynn, can I suggest freezing your yeast instead of keeping it on a shelf in canning jars. I don’t think you can actually can it, the heat would destroy it and if you left it on the shelf it would degrade quickly after opening the big bag.

    I buy mine from Sam’s Club in vacuum packages. They keep on the shelf until the expiration date or until the package is opened, at which point in time I transfer the contents to a plastic container, in my case, an empty ricotta cheese container, and stick it in the freezer. Anybody have better ideas? I’m open to suggestions.

  111. Michelle says:

    Maybe I’ll get lucky in the last drawing of the year!

  112. Debbie says:

    I like your old jars-I love old jars too! Love to win the BBB!

  113. pmilholl2 says:

    Would LOVE the BBB!!! My book is very old and falling apart (it was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law. (I would keep the old one of course,but would also treasure a new one!

    Thank you!

  114. cin13 says:

    BBB, please :ladybug:

  115. Sarah says:

    I have a soft spot for Ball jars since I went to Ball State University which was started by the same Ball family as the brothers that started the jar company.
    However, I have such a hard time with their canning recipes! Almost every single recipe for jam I’ve followed has not set up. I follow the recipe exactly, as far as I’m aware, so I don’t know what the problem is! I know one other person that has the same problem. Are we the only ones??

  116. marymac says:

    That is interesting to know about the jars. BBB

  117. Sarah says:

    My mother and I have started collecting all sorts of old jars. We used to have quite a few, but they all were wiped out when the house was destroyed during Hurricane Ike. The fun is mostly in the hunt. New ones just aren’t the same! I’d love to be in the BBB drawing!

  118. Sheila says:

    I’d like to be entered in the draw please , by the way those old jars are lovely πŸ™‚ (BBB).

  119. Wendy says:

    Now I’ll have to check my old Ball jars and see how old they could be. I’d love a copy of BBB…

  120. LisaG says:

    I have a bunch of old Ball jar I store old buttons in. I never knew how old they were. I have one that is from 1910-1923 and six from 1923-1933. Thank you so much for the information!!

  121. Barbie says:

    I also buy the 2 pound packages of yeast from Sam’s Club. I freeze the open bag in a plastic container (rubbermaid, with a tight seal) and keep the second bag in the freezer also. It is still good months past expiration date, I use it all now that I make grandmother bread a couple of times a week. :eating:

  122. Susan says:

    BBB, what can I say?
    Today is Ball Blue Book day!!

    BBB, I hope…I hope… I win it!
    Those delicious recipes will be devoured in a New York minute!!

    BBB, the Ball Blue Book,
    wants to reside in my cookbook nook!

  123. Ashlee M says:

    I love those old jars! I wish I could get my hands on some but they seem to be pretty hard to find in my area.

  124. Kelly Olsson says:

    I love all your recipes! Thanks for keeping it up! BBB

  125. Leslie Sausage says:

    I love the jars! Would love to win BBB

  126. CraftyK says:

    Please add me to the drawing! Thanks for the link to the Ball site…I’ll have to examine my old Ball jars and see how old they are. πŸ˜€

  127. Luann says:

    BBB me please, it would definately make my 3 days here sunshinery! LOL Stuck myself up on a rock on Sunday and today got myself down into a ditch twice….oh my, boy am I gonna toughen up.

  128. rivergirl says:

    I have a couple of blue jars with wire lids from my Nanny..

  129. Debbie L says:

    I NEED a Ball Book!! πŸ™‚

  130. Lucy says:

    Wouldn’t winning a BBB be a great way to end the year?! Count me in for the draw.

    Happy New Year!

  131. langela says:

    I’d love to win. Thanks for the chance!

  132. CntryLadi says:

    I would love to win the BBB!!!!!! :snoopy:

  133. Carmen McAnalley says:

    My mother has several of these jars. Thanks for the info. BBB

  134. SuzzyQ says:

    Need to start canning. The BBB would “B” wonderful!

  135. farmershae says:

    What a perfect Xmas gift! I’m going to have my husband check the dates on our jars – for some reason he likes to hide the really good ones from me… BBB me please!

  136. Shar says:

    I’m another old-jar lover! I never looked up to see how old my jars are. That chart is neat!

    Please count me in on the give-away and THANK YOU to the sponsor, Country School Retreat!


  137. Ruth C says:

    My last chance of this year! Count me in!

  138. Sherry Knowles says:

    Time is running out, please count me in BBB

  139. Prepared Teacher says:

    If I am too late it is ok, if I am ok on the time ( i’m in california) then ENTER ME in the BBB! I just learned how to can this year and am loving it! :snoopy:

  140. LeAnn says:

    You were right! I had to go check some of my collection, they are the 1923-1933 era. BBB, please!

  141. Angie Siegel says:

    Suzanne I love the jars. I love BBB.

  142. rileighsmom1 says:

    Congratulations to the winner!!! :woof:

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