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Lightning jars represent an important advancement in the history of home canning and are still a part of American culture.Some historians suggest that the term "white lightning" may have been inspired not only from the effect of ingesting homemade corn whiskey but by the name of the jars the whiskey was frequently stored in.These familiar jars with their glass lids and wire bales are still found in novelty stores today.
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.
The name Lightning suggested that the jars were quick and easy to use.
Variations of the glass lid and wire-bale scheme of the Lightning jar were produced for home canning into the 1960s.
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The familiar term Mason Jar came after its inventor, Mr. Mason, who, at age 26, was a tinsmith in New York City.He perfected a machine that could cut threads into lids, which ushered in the ability of manufacturing a jar with a reusable, screw-on, lid.These jars freed farm families from having to rely on pickle barrels, root cellars, and smoke houses to get through the winter.For urban families, Mason Jars allowed excess fruits and vegetables to be preserved for use later.These jars carry the familiar embossing "Mason's Patent Nov. This date refers to the original patent date, not the actual date of manufacture.Jars carrying this embossing, often with other monograms, numbers, letters, etc., were widely produced until about 1920. The identities of many actual manufacturers are unknown.