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!

Read to Me

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.

Until 1988.

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. 

However, there is still a vibrant community of collectors and jelly jar glass afficionados. Museum exhibits dedicated to the collection of these glasses have even been opened.

So, do you remember these unique drinking glasses? Which ones did you have?

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idkwut2use 5 hours ago
YAASSSS, my mom and I loved collecting and saving them to reuse! We had mostly Looney Tunes, though my favorite was a quartet of Tom & Jerry designs (Tom surfing and rollerblading, Jerry skateboarding and riding on a kite.) As of just a couple years ago I evidently had the Tom rollerblading...but the only one we've still got is Jerry on the kite. We're ensuring that one never gets broken or lost or whatever by keeping it in the fancy-stuff breakfront. One of my best friends had some of the Pokemon ones. And we had/have looooaaads of character cups/glasses/mugs in general...water cups with glitter and little plastic charms floating inside, a Beauty & the Beast cup from Burger King, etc. etc. etc. Loved my B&tB water-filled placemat too... ;;
harlow1313 5 hours ago
I proudly display a "Flintstones having a ball" jelly glass on a shelf. It has somehow survived all these years. I sometimes wonder what became of my 76ers mug from beer mug night at the Spectrum, all those years ago.
Maverick66 15 hours ago
Don't have any of these. In a similar vein, though, we still have some Coca-Cola Christmas glasses that McDonald's used to give out.

I miss the days of giveaways. And Green Stamps - used to be able to get a lot of quality things with those.
Jacki 17 hours ago
Love those glasses. Still have a couple.
Bricat2001 17 hours ago
I actually have a shroder and Lucy jar I got awhile ago for 25 cents , the lid was bent but I don't mind :)
MrsPhilHarris 18 hours ago
I love those glasses. When I was a kid we had jars that had flowers on them not cartoon characters. I would have loved to have had any of them. Mind you we didn’t really eat jelly except for grape once in a blue moon. We ate jam. Still do.
Peter_Falk_Fan 18 hours ago
We only have three Welch's glasses: Pokemon's Pikachu, Pokemon's Charmander, and The Three Caballeros from 'The Spirit of Mickey' series. The last one's mine since Donald Duck is my all-time favorite character. We also have two Bama glasses featuring dinosaurs: a Triceratops and a Velociraptor.

We (my brothers and I) had the Flintstones glasses growing up. Those glasses are all gone now.
WilliamJorns 20 hours ago
I remember we had Welch's glasses with the Flintstones on them. Each one had a brief description of the scene on the glass headed by the phrase, "The Flintstones..."
justjeff 20 hours ago
In the alleged 'good old days', companies cared more about their customers than they do now.

Many understood that little premiums, gifts or promotions could drive sales, build customer loyalty and increase company good will.

With so many brands merged into mega-corporations, holding companies or investment portfolios, the only people who matter are the stockholders or the upper-management who get "Golden Parachute" exit packages.

You'll still hear corporate spin about how important customers are - but take a good luck at some of your groceries and se how they've shrunk over the years, while their prices have risen. You'll hear the blame laid on the pandemic, the cost of production or transportation and such - but you'll rarely hear anyone say "We raised the price beause our stock dropped last week" or "Our CEO was just given a $2 million retirement package, and we've got to cover it".

Sure, things *do* cost more to produce and ship - but either raise the price OR cut the size...NOT both!

Example: Mayo is now in a 30 ounce jar instead of a quart. Orange juice and ice cream are [in general] no longer half gallons. Candy bars are about 1/3 smaller at around a buck than they were when they were five cents... Cookies, chips, paper goods... and on and on...

Ever see these "super mega rolls" of toilet paper that cost a small fortune for a 4 pack? They're still *smaller* than a "standard" roll in the 1970s...

The days of cool collectables from your favorite brands are pretty much over - unless you wish to foot the bill for the postage and 'handling' often charged to acquire some valueless junk passing for "premiums" nowadays...
Toonhead justjeff 17 hours ago
Thanks Jeff! I knew I wasn’t the only one who noticed the shrinking size/rising price phenomenon! The sad part is that the young’uns today will look back on these as their good old days. Thank goodness that there are some people out there trying to improve the experience for the kids. Toon In With Me improves it for us all.
Thanks for an accurate and insightful look at corporate greed and (lack of) ethics. Bravo
justjeff Toonhead 16 hours ago
Thank *you* for those kind comments. I was girding myself to being lambasted for being "an old, complaining coot" by someone...

When I started hight school in 1967 the minimum wage in Florida was $1.25 and hour and guess what - some people could actually *live* on that hourly wage... My mom could fill up a grocery cart for I'd say about $25-$30.

If you spend $30 today, you can carry the purchases in a plastic tote sack...
Toonhead justjeff 15 hours ago
Too right that, my friend! I have been joking with people about the rising food prices, saying that if they don’t moderate, my wife and I will only be able to afford to eat about two weeks a month. In fact, in Kalamazoo, Mi. my hometown, rents had gotten so high that being alone and on social security, I would have had to move into a storage unit with my equipment! Fortunately, I met and married a wonderful girl with her own house so I lucked out and now live in a great little town in Indiana. I worry for the future of our country, what with $5 hamburgers and $70k pickup trucks!
Keep the faith, friends and watch a toon every day to keep a smile on your kisser and promote the good thought.
Toonhead out & still grinning
Toonhead justjeff 14 hours ago
P.S. My first “real” job was also in 1967 and I saved enough to buy my first car! Right with ya there Jeff!😎
Andybandit 21 hours ago
My grandmother gave me her Speedy Gonzales one because she knew I like Speedy. I still drink from it now.
stephaniestavr5 21 hours ago
The article METV mentions concerning the museum: is from 2015. It comes from the New Hampshire magazine.
Has anybody out there seen this exhibit? Is the museum still around?
KJExpress stephaniestavr5 18 hours ago
I just checked and the museum is still in operation, although I think this particular exhibit might be gone. I live in NH so I might check it out when I am on one of my weekend rambles.
teire 23 hours ago
We had the Flintstone jelly jar glasses, we drank a lot of grape juice in my family (Welch’s from frozen concentrate), so the purple theme carried over as they were repurposed.
AnnieM 23 hours ago
I was an early 70's kid; I clearly remember having several of the Archie character glasses. I think one of them was of their band printed in yellow and orange or red paint. It was nice to see them bring the character glasses back, but I missed the characters being embossed on the bottom. Plus, the new 'teardrop' shape was hard to clean with it's much narrower opening.
KJExpress AnnieM 18 hours ago
I had forgotten about the faces on the bottom. 😁
KJExpress 1 day ago
A blast from the past! I remember having The Flinstones on a couple of glasses in the late 60's and early 70's and I believe we might have had one with Sylvester on it. Eventually they all broke, but by then I had stopped eating PB&J sandwiches so we didn't get any more.
My great-aunt had a set of these with The Flintstones on them. She would serve us kids in them when we came to visit.
Michael 1 day ago
When I think of Welch's, I think of grape juice. I never saw these glasses.

But in the sixties (maybe before too) Kraft sold pimento spread in glasses. Metal lids to pry off with a can opener. When it was empty, they were glasses. We had a bunch of them, used them every day, until they all broke, and Kraft moved to some other package.

There must be other examples, it's almost like a toy in a box of cereal, at least for parents.

I've seen products in mason jars at the grocery store in recent years. Not sure if it was done out of need, a small company, and continued when it got big, or marketting by big companies to give the product a small company look.

Who doesn't keep yogurt and other plastic containers? Not as much fun as glasses, but giving the packaging a longer life than just bringing home t thege food.
stephaniestavr5 Michael 21 hours ago
To answer your question: I don't keep anything in plastic yogurt containers. The only plastic containers I buy, are a brand called: Lock 'n' Lock.
KJExpress Michael 17 hours ago
My mother used to buy Cool Whip and she was always keeping the empty containers for some sort of leftovers. I'm sure she did that with all sorts of containers. It seemed practical at the time.
stephaniestavr5 KJExpress 13 hours ago
My mom would do that as well. Once the CW tubs were empty, she'd remove the cardboard insert and of course, rinse them out.
She also used the ever popular Tupperware as well! I wonder if there's a Tupperware Museum....
stephaniestavr5 KJExpress 12 hours ago
Just checked. There is one. It's located in Kissimmee Florida. Kissimee is also the home of its world headquarters.
Since Halloween draws nigh, I thought I should mention: back in the '80's, someone who was retiring, received a Tupperware coffin!
A Tupperware coffin? Yikes! ⚰
LoveMETV22 1 day ago
Yep! remember them well. A few folks out there selling their used drinking glasses, but Welch's had a good gimmick with them over the years.
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