Ball Mason Jars Aren’t Made by Ball

Step into the magical realm of canning and preserving, where the mere whisper of Ball Mason jars transports you to cozy kitchens and recipes handed down through the ages. But here’s the twist—those iconic jars with the whimsical “Ball” logo? They still proudly wear that badge, defying the odds and standing as a testament to their storied past. The 134-year-old Ball Corp., once synonymous with glassware, has gracefully shifted gears to can production—soup, dog food, beer, and soda are now its claim to fame. Yet, the connection with the iconic Mason jars, which reached its zenith in 1931, remains etched in our collective memory. Now crafted by Newell Brands, these jars continue to bear the logo that embodies quality and tradition, preserving the essence of a bygone era.

The Unseen Transformation: Glass to Space

Fast forward to 1993, and a peculiar evolution unfolds. The glass canning division bids adieu to the Ball empire, paving the way for something unexpected. Enter Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a division of Ball Corp., not your usual suspect in the jar-making business. Today, Newell Brands holds the reins, ensuring that the authentic Ball® home canning products live on. This revelation adds another layer to the Ball saga—one that intertwines jars and jets, glass and galaxies. Today, we unearth the surprising fact that Ball, our cherished canning companion, has a secret aerospace division. And not just any division—it played a pivotal role in crafting the mirrors for the illustrious James Webb Space Telescope. It’s a delightful fusion of culinary tradition and space odyssey, showcasing the incredible adaptability of a company that has weathered 134 years of evolution.

The aerospace escapade began as a gut feeling from Ed Ball, son of the company’s founder. Faced with the challenge of keeping the company afloat in the latter half of the 20th century, Ed Ball decided to pivot towards research and innovation. Once a juggernaut in the glass mason jar industry, the company needed a new playbook to stay competitive. In a bold move, Ed Ball convinced the company’s board to invest in a startup in Boulder, Colorado, dealing in electronic scales for trucks.

While the scale business didn’t quite take off, it set the stage for collaborations with physicists at the nearby University of Colorado. The birth of Ball Brothers Research Corp., later renamed Ball Aerospace, marked the beginning of a new chapter. They began luring professors and graduate students away from the university, along with their rocket-building contracts. The move drew protests, but Ed Ball remained unapologetic, viewing it as a necessary step for the company’s survival and innovation.


Replying to @Deviantbeast Ball Corp also has an athletic stadium. Talk about a range of products but no Mason Jars.

♬ original sound – Ryan Kelly

Aerospace Odyssey: From Scales to Spacecraft

Within a few years, Ball Aerospace won its inaugural NASA satellite contract, embarking on a journey that saw the creation of a steady stream of spacecraft and instruments. In 1975, the company even secured a patent for microstrip antennas—thin and flexible enough to grace the curved hulls of rockets. This innovation opened doors to contracts for creating antennas for nuclear missiles and fighter jets. Notably, when the F-35 Lightning II finally takes to the skies, it will sport Ball Aerospace antennas integrated into its sleek body.

Today, Ball Aerospace isn’t just a name associated with preserving fruits and vegetables; it’s a key player in preserving knowledge and exploring the unknown. The revelation that the company had a hand in projects like the James Webb Space Telescope and NASA’s Great Observatories adds a celestial dimension to the familiar Ball logo. What was once tied solely to mason jars now extends its reach to the stars and beyond.

Preserving Traditions, Reaching for the Stars

As we admire the jars adorning our pantries, let’s also tip our hats to the unseen hands of Ball, past and present. While the mason jars may no longer be crafted directly by Ball, the spirit of innovation and exploration lives on. From preserving garden-fresh produce to aiding humanity’s reach for the stars, the Ball legacy persists in unexpected and extraordinary ways. In our kitchens and in the boundless expanse of outer space, the Ball name resonates with a rich history—an ode to the company’s ability to adapt, evolve, and leave an indelible mark on multiple frontiers.