Did you ever drink out of a Welch's jelly jar glass?
You could find jelly jars with cartoon favorites, dinosaurs, and even the muppets!
Mason jars have become synonamous with trendy, pinterest-worthy drinks. Over the past several years, it has become more and more commonplace to see hip restaurants serving everything from cocktails to dessert in these canning staples. Party and wedding inspiration pages online will suggest long lists of how to make the cutest mason jar centerpieces, drinks, and decorations.
But long before the mason jar craze, we were drinking out of an entirely different kind of jar: a jelly jar.
In the early 1950s, the Welch's Company, known for their juices and fruit spreads, sponsored The Howdy Doody Show. A few years later, Welch's had a new idea — they'd print familiar Howdy Doody characters on their glass jelly jars! Kids would beg their parents to buy the brand with their favorite show on it, and penny-saving parents could keep and reuse the jar as a drinking glass. The first glasses even came with a character's face on the bottom, presumably to encourage kids to finish their glass.
Through the '50s, '60s, and '70s, we got a slew of different glass designs, usually featuring familiar cartoon faces. Collections included The Flintones, characters from Archie comics, and Warner Bros. cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, and more. There were usually 6-8 designs in each collection, and some people made goals of collecting the entire series.
However, after 1978, the colorful printed glasses suddenly vanished.
"What happened," said Dan Dillon, vice president for marketing at Welch's, in a 1989 article, "was a change in glass technology. The old mode of making glass, called full-press technology, became too expensive and was replaced by a new process, called press-and-blow technology. This new process produces a thinner glass."
This new, thinner glass led to chipping when the old-style lids were taken off. So Welch's transferred to the screw-top lids that we're still using today. Unfortunately, the new tops of glasses that went with these lids was not very appealing as a drinking glass, so the jelly jar glass faded away.
Welch's, Dillon said, knew that the drinking jar glasses were special, and kept searching for a way to bring them back. After a decade of work, the company came up with a unique "type of plastic and metal lid that both vacuum seals the jelly and pops off with no danger of chipping the glass."
The company made a return to jelly jar drinking glasses with a line of realistic dinosaur designs, but soon went back to their cartoon roots. Through the Nineties, kids could find Welch's jelly glasses with Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Dr. Suess, The Muppets, and the Lion King, among others. By the 2000s you could even find Pokémon and Peanuts!
Post-2002 jelly jar glasses are hard to find information on. For whatever reason, the popularity waned again. Maybe the availability of plastic jelly containers made the glass jars less appealing.
So, do you remember these unique drinking glasses? Which ones did you have?