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Candy jar, by Christian Dorflinger, 1869-1880, glass, diameter: 12.1 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art (USA)
Hexagonal jar decorated with flowers and birds, late 17th century, porcelain with overglaze enamels, height: 31.1 cm, diameter: 19.1 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

A jar is a rigid, cylindrical or slightly conical container, typically made of glass, ceramic, or plastic, with a wide mouth or opening that can be closed with a lid, screw cap, lug cap, cork stopper, roll-on cap, crimp-on cap, press-on cap, plastic shrink, heat sealed lidding film, an inner seal, a tamper-evident band, or other suitable means.


The English word "jar" originates from the Arabic word jarra, which means an earthen pot or vessel.[1][2]


Jars are sterilised by putting them in a pressure cooker with boiling water or an oven for a number of minutes. Glass jars are considered microwavable.[3]


Jars can be used to hold solids too large to be removed from, or liquids too viscous to be poured through, a bottle's neck; these may be foods, cosmetics, medications, or chemicals.[4] Glass jars—among which the most popular is the mason jar—can be used for storing and preserving items as diverse as jam, pickled gherkin, other pickles, marmalade, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, jalapeño peppers, chutneys, pickled eggs, honey, and many others.


  • Bell jar - typically used in scientific laboratories to produce a vacuum; also used in Victorian times for display purposes
  • Cookie jar - typically ceramic or glass, common in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom
  • Killing jar - used to kill captured insects
  • Leyden jar - a historical electrical capacitor
  • Specimen jar - an instrument used in anatomy to preserve specimens
  • Apothecary jar - historically for storage of medicines; made of ceramics or more typically in modern centuries, clear glass. Typically cylindrical or with rotationally symmetric decorative curves, sometimes with a glass disc foot separated from the main body. Modern glass versions are also used for artistic display of the contents.

Modern glass food storage jars come in a variety of shapes, all of which have a circular opening on top for screwing on a lid:[5]

  • Economy round or wide mouth jars - tall but rotund cylinder slightly rounded at the top and bottom, relatively wide with a wide mouth, commonly used for sauces like a mayonnaise
  • Paragon jars - tall and narrow cylinder, commonly used for pickled foods like olives
  • French square or Victorian jars - roughly a small cube
  • Spice jars - small cylinder or rectangular cuboid
  • Hexagon or hex jars - regular hexagonal prism
  • Mason jars - moderately tall cylinder typically used in home canning, sealed with a metal lid
  • Kilner jar - similar to a Mason jar but sealed with rubber
  • Straight-sided jars - cylinders with no neck. Squat straight-sided jars are suitable for creams which can be scooped out.

Ancient ceramic types include:

  • Amphora - large, but typically holding under 50 L
  • Pithos - very large, typically the size of a person and holding hundreds of liters



Some regions[In what country?] have a legally mandated deposit refundable upon return of the jar to its retailer, after which the jar is recycled according to the SPI recycling code for the material.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ J. A. Abu-Haidar. Hispano-Arabic Literature and the Early Provencal Lyrics. Routledge. p. 228.
  2. ^ James E Glevin. The Modern Middle East: A History. Oxford University Press. p. 21.
  3. ^ Ahvenainen; Heiniö, R.-L. (1993). "Factors affecting the suitability of glass jars for heating in microwave ovens. Comparison with plastic jars and paper board tubs". Packaging Technology and Science. 6 (1): 43–52. doi:10.1002/pts.2770060108.
  4. ^ Yam, K. L., "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6
  5. ^ "Types of Packaging – Glass Bottles and Jars". Howtobuypackaging.com. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  6. ^ Soroka, W, "Fundamentals of Packaging Technology", IoPP, 2002, ISBN 1-930268-25-4

External links[edit]


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