Van Vliet Improved Fruit Jar

Provenance: Darrell Plank Collection

The design for Warren Van Vliet’s jar was intended to advance the preservation of fruits and other foods by improving the jar’s seal. The jars were narrow at the top and flared to a wider, more stable bottom. To seal the jars, Van Vliet developed a baling device that wrapped the jars with wire. The wire then secured a yoke-shaped clamp that tightly held the jars’ lids when they were closed, creating an air-tight seal. Van Vliet’s jars came in a variety of sizes from one-half pint to two quarts.  

Van Vliet’s patent for his fruit jars was approved on May 3, 1881. The jars are embossed with either “The Van Vliet Jar of 1881” or “Van Vliet Improved PatD May 3 1881.”

Unfortunately, the Van Vliet jars were only made for four years; the factory burned down in 1885, and the storeroom, fasteners, and jars were lost. The factory was never rebuilt.  Because the Van Vliet canning jars were only made for a short time, there are very few in existence. 

Read More: W.R. Van Vliet’s Canning Jars

Support: Quart “VAN VLIET IMPROVED” jar in an extremely rare (or singular) yellow-green color. The glass displays some beautiful character with tons of seed bubbles and some swirling. There are also some very subtle amber swirls visible through the jar. The base of the jar has “feet” comprised of the 8 embossed letters “VAN VLIET”. Original iron clamp assembly and original wire. The Van Vliet glass lid is more yellowish than the jar but looks very good on the jar. The base has an embossed mold number “13”. We believe this is one of only two known colored Van Vliet jars. – Greg Spurgeon with North American Glass

Support: Auction Lot 44: “The / Van Vliet / Jar / Of 1881” Fruit Jar, America, circa 1881. Cylindrical, tapering from bottom to top, aquamarine, ground mouth with glass lid, wire and thumb screw closure – smooth base with embossed “1”, half-gallon; (potstone between the J and A in “Jar” has several 1/8 inch radiations). L #2878 An appealing jar with the unusual closure and odd tapering form. Generally fine condition. – Norman C. Heckler & Company Auction #177

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