Kilner jar

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A Kilner jar from no later than 1928
The open jar

A Kilner jar is a rubber-sealed, screw-topped jar used for preserving (bottling) food. It was first produced by John Kilner & Co., Yorkshire, England.[1][2][3]


The Kilner Jar was originally made by a firm of glass bottlemakers from Yorkshire called Kilner.[4] The original Kilner bottlemakers operated from 1842, when the company was first founded, until 1937, when the company went into bankruptcy. The Kilner Company was taken to court in 1871 over the coal smoke coming from their Thornhill Lees chimneys and the judge ordered that "no man has the right to interfere with the supply of pure air".[citation needed] The company was forced to close down to convert to gas furnaces and struggled along for 66 years despite 3,000 people losing their jobs.[citation needed] In 1937, there was a bankruptcy sale, in which the patent rights to the "Kilner Jar" were sold to the United Glass Bottle company along with the rights to the very similar "Mason" jar that had also been made by Kilner.[citation needed]

In 2003,[5] The Rayware Group purchased the design, patent and trademark of the original Kilner jar[dubious ] and continues to produce them today in China.[6] [7]

A more detailed history of the companies by the Society for Historical Archeology.


In an episode of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, the former Top Gear television presenter Jeremy Clarkson found out that he was a great-great-great-great grandson of John Kilner.[8]

Company names[edit]

The various names of the Kilner companies were:

  • John Kilner and Co, Castleford, Yorkshire, 1842–44
  • John Kilner and Sons, Wakefield, Yorkshire, 1847–57
  • Kilner Brothers Glass Co, Thornhill Lees, Yorkshire, 1857–73 also at Conisbrough, Yorkshire, 1863–1873
  • Kilner Brothers Ltd, Thornhill Lees, Yorkshire 1873–1920 also at Conisbrough, Yorkshire, 1873–1937.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grace's Guides: The Best of British Engineering – Kilner Brothers, Grace's Guide, 5 February 2008, (Accessed May 2011)
  2. ^ Shephard, Sue (2001) Pickled, potted, and canned: how the art and science of food preserving changed the world, Simon & Schuster
  3. ^ Wagstaffe, Reginald and John Havelock Fidler (eds) (1968) The Preservation Of Natural History Specimens. Volume Two – Zoology – Vertebrates. Also Botany & Geology. H. F. & G. Witherby. London
  4. ^ BBC, WDYTYA? Series One: Celebrity Gallery,
  5. ^ "in 2003 The Rayware Group acquired the Ravenhead name, including Kilner jar, a subsidiary of Ravenhead" Accessed January 2017.
  6. ^ Why we love the Kilner jar, Homemaker Magazine,
  7. ^
  8. ^ Jeremy Clarkson, Who Do You Think You are Magazine (2009) (Accessed Jan 2014)