Old owl jar

edited August 2012 in Question and Answer
Anyone know what this clear glass jar was used for. It is clear glass 21 inched by 10 inches with a tin screw on lid. On the bottom it reads THE WISE OLD OWL.


  • I found several of these on ebay (completed auctions) - all were claiming the jar was made by Owens Illinois, although the base does not bear their mark.

    Have no idea what they were made for...
  • I bought 2 of these same Owl jars, along with 2 shaped like vintage cars (hearse looking) and one amber glass pig with "this little pig went to market" stamped on the bottom. (photos attached) All are as large as the owl. None of them have any makers mark or dates on them, however I bought them from an estate sale of a lady who had worked for years at Owens Glass Co (which became Corning). Her daughter said her mother got the jars while working at Owens and they were usually used in markets as displays jars for gum balls, candy, cookies, pickles, etc. The jars I bought were never used and kept in storage so are in almost mint condition. The daughter wasn't sure how old they were exactly, but guessed somewhere in the 60's based on her memory of them. My owl jars have metal lids like yours, the pig has a cork snout as it's lid, and the car jars have plastic lids with a grill design printed on them. I'm not sure when they started using plastic for lids, but the 60's might be about right. I don't know why Owens didn't put a makers mark/date on them.
  • Thanks for your post and your photos, pickermema.

    It is my understanding that Owens-Illinois and Corning are two separate companies. Reviewing their respective Wikipedia pages confirms this, although they have worked on at least one major joint venture.

    It is probably safe to say manufacturer marks are added for the benefit of the manufacturer, and much of the meaning and purpose does not get beyond staff of the company. It leaves lots of work for researchers for decades to come :-)

  • edited July 2018
    The large 20 to 21 inch jars,"Wise Old Owl " design were mostly made by Bloomingdale Glass in the late 60's early 70's. I was told at one time that they were often used for attraction at Carnivals. A lot of stores used them to display individual wrapped gum and candies as dispensers. Similar to the large Dill Pickle Jars. They will hold approximately 5 gallons.

    Some were molded to have a tin screw on lid and others have/had a wooden block stopper as a lid. I am not at all sure but have an idea they all had one or the other at the time and the lids/stoppers have either rusted beyond use or in the wood lost, rotted, or split rendering them unusable.

    I have one with a wooden stopper and have it because I went to a carnival with my father and a couple of his brothers. Uncle Oliver was quite strong and hit the target with a mallet hard enough to ring the bell. When he won the thing he gave it to me as a present for my up-coming birthday. I think I was 29-30, maybe a year or two older, at the time. That would have made the Carnival in 1965-1969.
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