Friday, October 1, 2010

Pretty Purple Pint

I sure do love Antiques.  My only exception to this rule is Pig Pen! 

Some might call me a cougar.  My defense?  I did not pick him up in a bar! 

So on to the Antique Part.  Yesterday we went to a Craft Fair.  I bought cookies...I'll do that sort of thing alot.  But then we went to the coolest Antique Store!  I saw something I have never seen before...a beautiful Deep Purple Canning Jar.

Did I take a picture?  Of course not...  I think when I saw the price tag for the little purple pint, it bit me!  $85 bucks!  Geesh!  So I did a little snooping around and the best pic I could find was this tiny weenie guy...

For the price and lack of images, they sure must be rare.  Here is the research I found on The Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors website.  (Yes there is such a thing!  Pretty neat reads too!)
When manufacturers produce glass, chemicals (clarifying agents) must be added to clarify the batch in order to turn it from its original color of aqua-blue or green to clear. Prior to the start of the First World War, manufacturers used Manganese Dioxide as their chemical agent of choice to clarify glass. When a jar or bottle turns purple from sunlight, manganese dioxide is the substance in the glass that reacts with sunlight to cause the color change. Russia was the primary source of this chemical.

When the First World War broke out, our source of manganese dioxide was cut off by German blockades. This sudden loss left glass manufacturers in a quandary and forced them to use another chemical, selenium, to clarify glass. After the close of the war, manufacturers did not return to the use of manganese dioxide. Selenium does not cause glass to react to sunlight like manganese does, thus glass clarified with selenium does not turn purple. Knowing this fact and the history above, collectors have another way to date their glass collectibles. If your jar is purple, it is a pretty good bet it was made before W.W.I.


One of the most regrettable things that has happened in recent years is the introduction of irradiated jars into the market. Altered artificially by modern technology, these jars come in dark browns and purples and are sometimes sold for large amounts of money. Some collectors have been fooled into buying these jars thinking the colors are genuine. Collectors are becoming hesitant to buy amber and other colored jars for fear someone has altered them.

In industrial facilities, radioactive substances are available that some people have used to expose old glass in an effort to change its color. Since the radiation in these substances can be especially potent, the change in color may be astonishingly deep.

If the jar contains manganese dioxide, when irradiated it will turn a deep (in some cases almost black) purple. If the jar contains selenium, it will turn an opaque brown color. Sometimes these deep brown jars are sold, either inadvertently or intentionally, as real amber jars. If you have any doubts, ask an experienced collector. One way you can tell if a jar has been irradiated is to bake it in an oven. A collector in Michigan set an irradiated jar in a 200° oven for 2½ hours and the color disappeared. (Placing your valuable old jars in an oven could cause them to crack, so be careful!)
I think I will stick to collecting the occasional Blue Ball Jar...kinda sorta like this one... 

All done!  Just put the finishing touches on it this morning!  Adding to the cuteness of it, the hanger is two little busy bee's!   :)


  1. Interesting info! I'm always on the lookout for the jars, but I think I'll store seeds or the like in them. Love the wall hanging!

  2. Erin, who knew, right?? I use the old ones for my dry goods mostly or just display on top of the cupboards. If I had a purple one, I'd probably have to sleep with it for that amount of cash!!

  3. The wall hanging turned out beautiful! It looks perfect on your blue wall! You truly ARE a master sewer!! One of these days I will get you to fess up!

  4. I left a comment and it is gone again? Whats up Blogger? Anyway just want you to know I am still thinking about that purse you made. Did you follow a pattern or did you do it on our own.? How long did it take you? I told you I loved purses. The wall hanging is beautiful.

  5. Jane, I will email you a link as well, but it was a pattern from Whimsicals called "My Catch All Bag". I veered from it with the strap...I didn't want grommets or knots holding it together. I will find it for you and send it along!

  6. I love it, GREAT JOB!!!