Jun 29, 2011

{Ball Jars...The Best!}

Being born and raised in Muncie, IN, which is a small, hardworking, Midwestern town, you learn to appreciate Ball jars.  I wouldn't consider using anything else other than Ball jars for my canning.  Muncie, was at one time the headquarters for Ball Corporation.  There were five Ball brothers, four of which founded and worked for the company in Muncie, IN, the other was a private physician, but still worked for the company in some capacity.  Ball Corporation was started with a $200 loan from one of their uncles.  There were two Ball sisters, but you don't hear too much about them. 

So why Muncie, IN?  Muncie was an attractive site because they needed natural gas in the production of the glass, and therefore they moved the company in the late 1800's. 
In my opinion, Ball State University is really the heart of Muncie.  A lot of my friends' parents were employed at Ball State, my mom included.  Not to mention, football games, the "village", and homecoming gave us stuff to do.  And everyone I knew was born in Ball Hospital, including yours truly!

Ball Corporation officially moved their headquarters to Broomfield, CO in the late 1990's.  My uncle has spent his entire career working for Ball Corp, starting in Muncie, and then moving to Colorado.  My grandpa tells me that Ball Corp is now one of the largest manufacturers of cans in the world (next to Coca Cola)...pretty impressive.  My uncle still works for Ball Corp today!

I was surprised to find out that if you have questions about an old Ball jar that you have found, and want to know what it is worth, you still direct questions to Muncie!  You would contact the Minnetrista Cultural Center at 1200 North Minnetrista Pkwy., Muncie, IN 47303.  A fun fact that I found through researching the Ball Family, was that Minnetrista was given its name by the two Ball sisters.  Minnetrista literally comes from the Indian word minne for “water” and the old English word tryst for “agreed meeting place.”  One of the Ball brothers built his house on the site that is now the Minnestrista Cultural Center (the original house was torn down).

Recently, Justin and I took a trip to Northern IN to visit his family.  Out in the country we came across a tin shed filled with antiques.  Most of the merchandise was glass, china, or old cigar boxes.  I of course stopped at the collection of Ball jars.  I love the blue Ball jars, but rarely can find them...although Ebay, Etsy, and other online merchandising sites have a lot of listings.  I like to see mine in person before I purchase.  I purchased two for $2, including the old zinc lids.  I love the bubbles and little imperfections you find in the glass.

My plan is to display Ball jars on my new console in the kitchen nook.  But I also plan on using one vintage Ball jar to make a soap dispenser.

Here's how to do it...

You will need: one vintage ball jar with a 1 piece zinc lid, an old plastic hand soap pump, a drill with a hole bit, scissors or Exacto knife

Before you begin...empty the soap bottle you will be using.  I just invert the bottle into the jar, and it is usually totally empty when I've drilled the hole in the lid. 

1.  Cut a hole in the center of the zinc lid.  Make sure it is big enough to fit the size of the pump insides.

2.  Next, cut off the top of the screw piece on the top of the old plastic hand soap pump.  Careful...you don't want to cut yourself!

3.  Fit the screw neck into the hole of the zinc lid.
4.  Thread the pump part into the screw neck.  Twist to tighten!
5.  Fill the jar with your favorite hand soap.  I am a big fan of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Baby.  It has a fresh scent that my whole family loves.

6.  Screw the lid, and all of its parts back on the jar!

It's so simple.  Plus, I think it's so sweet and charming next to my sink.  It's a little ode to my roots...and I love it!

Other uses for ball jars (some are more obvious uses than others)...

 Gorgeous, right?  What a great table setting for a dinner party or a wedding.

 Lovely...just lovely.
 Beautiful.  My cousin's table settings at his wedding were Ball jars filled with wild flowers.

What will you use your Ball jars for?


  1. I love these! I have my dried wedding bouquet in one:) I also keep the coffee grounds in one:)

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog and I love your creative ideas! The antique blue ball jar-turned-soap-dispenser is BRILLIANT! Random question - I saw that you have IKEA Hemnes furniture. Have you tried distressing the wood at all? Thank you!

  3. Hi Mia...thank you for the compliments. I have not distressed the Hemnes furniture, but made sure I bought white because it was just painted on pine (the other colors are a plastic laminant type). I want to paint and distress our console with Annie Sloan's chalk paint, but I have to find the time to get to that! Good luck!

  4. I love this idea! So cute. I would even make it as a gift for my friends for Christmas! We are all fans of jars! I think your blog is wonderful and I wish you the best as it grows. I have a new blog as well and it's been a blast to create and write for it. Best of luck to you!

  5. Oh my word, Fate. I live in Muncie, and we are in the process of re-doing one of the old Ball houses.

    My brother and I were just talking about maybe doing his wedding reception at Minnestrista, I love the Ball jar candles for the table.. AHHH

  6. Love these pictures! Ball jars are fabulous, I bought 12 initially for canning purposes, and have to keep buying more because I find other uses for them (storing dry goods, displaying things etc).

  7. I just found your site via Pinterest and I love it! Also, you've made me nostalgic with this post because I'm originally from Indiana (Crown Point) but went to high school at Indiana Academy on Ball State campus. I remember the village and Minnetrista fondly and even did an internship at Ball hospital. Loved my time there. And yes, because of it, I also have a fondness for Ball jars. :)

  8. I'm up way past my bedtime but I'm searching for authentic jars just like the ones you found! Like you mentioned Etsy, eBay, etc. has them but I'm like you I want to actually see and feel them before I trust that they are authentic. Do you mind keeping me in mind if you run across more at that super price? I will pay you to ship them to me ;).

    PS I just discovered your blog and I LOVE it!!! You are so creative and talented...WOWZA!!

  9. Sad to say, I didn't know that the old ball jars I've been putting shells into were from muncie. How didn't I know this?

    I was just in muncie yesterday visiting friends (I went to ball state too.) Did you see they tore down Labambas? I only visited my friend to get my bambas fix. :) I called her on my way out asking where they moved and she didn't know. Qdoba and Chipotle do nothing for me like bambas did. A sad day indeed.


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