In 1858 John Mason of New York invented and patented a new jar with an air and water-tight seal. Just like today, the original Mason jar had a threaded neck and threaded metal cap that screwed down over a rubber seal to make the jar airtight. It is this seal that allows the food in the jar, once packaged germ free to remain so for an extended time.

The jars were shipped throughout the US by 1860 and started to be used for home canning. This allowed storage of produce for winter, which was not previously possible. The original jars were made of greenish-blue glass to enhance the preservation process by providing some light protection to the foods contained within the jars. Although Mason’s jar wasn’t the earliest method of canning, it far exceeded the convenience and storage time of earlier methods and it was the first to allow for home canning. Before canning, food was either dried, smoked, and salted or soaked in sugar, so Mason’s invention went a long way to preserving the natural taste of food.