A.E. Bray Fruit Jar

Provenance: Jerry McCann collection

Our outstanding museum example represents an A. E. BRAY (four-leaf clover) PAT. PEND’G fruit jar in red-amber. This may be the only known amber example without the words FRUIT JAR embossed on the face of the jar like most examples. The jar is hand-blown with a ground lip. The closure is a top seal (on ground lip), glass lid and metal screw band with four soldered on wrench lugs. There is a row of squarish projections encircling the shoulder. The patentee was Ann Eliza Bray of Los Gatos, California who held patents dated June 25, 1901, and June 2, 1903. The jars were made circa 1901 by unknown glasshouse.

Leybourne in Red Book notes a variant with the words, FRUIT JAR embossed horizontally above PAT. PEND’G.

This jar was made for the Bray Fruit Jar Company of Los Gatos, California. A few of these jars were made by an unknown glass house sometime prior to May 1901. At this time, the Bray Fruit Jar Company made three sample jars, a pint, half-pint and one-gallon size.

No records have been found showing that Ball ever made these jars.

On an early Bray brochure, the jar closure was illustrated and described as a “glass screw cover” but a handwritten correction changed this to “metal screw ring & glass cover” in early 1901. The brochure also described a pair of flexible metal bands used to tighten and loosen the closure. The glass screw cap illustrated had square projections molded onto it as did the jar. No doubt the glass screw cap caused sticking problems and was changed at an early date to the white milk glass lid and metal screw band closure found on these jars. Crystal and amber jars were mentioned with the amber being “better for keeping fruit, especially tomatoes.”

Annie E. Bray of Los Gatos, California was issued another patent on June 2, 1903, to cover the glass lid and metal screw band closure.

Amber Bray Fruit Jars are known in pint, quart and half-gallon sizes while clear examples only have been seen in a quart capacity. The variant with FRUIT JAR comes can be found in clear and amber pints.

Support: Research assistance from Jerry McCann. Reference to Red Book #11, the Collector’s Guide to Old Fruit Jars by Douglas M. Leybourne, Jr.

Support: Example images of A.E. BRAY (four-leaf clover) FRUIT JAR PAT PEND’G amber and dark amber ‘squatty’ quarts courtesy of Greg Spurgeon and North American Glass.

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