Weck canning jar advertisement.

A vintage German ad for Weck canning jars.

Home preserving is a gracious response to the abundance of a particular place. Preservers are often moved to their work by where they are: a new house with what turns out to be a lemon tree, a neighbor with extra apples too tart to eat out of hand, or the fortune of a favorite hike with a hidden huckleberry patch. Similarly, Johann Carl Weck, founder of the J. WECK Company, manufacturer of the iconic WECK jars, was also inspired by place.

Weck was a teetotaler; he abstained from alcohol and was also a vegetarian. Born in 1841 outside of Frankfurt, he later lived in the historic region of Baden, now part of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, on the east bank of the Rhine River. A region of mountains and fertile valleys, southern Baden was a preserver’s paradise of plum, apple, and cherry orchards and was even well suited for growing walnuts and producing honey.

In these abundant surroundings, temperance-minded Weck was interested in a viable and appealing alternative to using fruit to make alcohol and preserving fruit in alcohol (a popular method at the time). To this end, he purchased a patent that originated with chemist Rudolph Rempel. Rempel put up the bounty of his own home garden in order to perfect his method for preserving food by boiling it in a glass jar with a rubber ring and metal lid weighted with something heavy like a rock. He secured the patent in April 1892, shortly before his untimely death in 1893.

Business took off for Weck, particularly after he reached out to George Van Eyck, a local businessman in the Lower Rhine. Van Eyck, who owned a porcelain and pottery shop, began selling Weck jars in 1895. Van Eyck outsold all other Weck purveyors in Germany, demonstrating to Weck that he was a standout salesman. The energy and mind for sales that Van Eyck brought to the young company led Weck to invite him to take over sales for the entire country. Together Weck and Van Eyck officially founded the J. Weck Company on January 1, 1900. Within two years, Weck jars began to be sold outside of Germany in countries such as France, Switzerland, and Austria.

Insisting on a comprehensive approach when selling the jars, Van Eyck always worked to educate potential customers on the practical aspects of preserving. In 1902, when Weck left the firm, providing this sort of education was one of the ways that Van Eyck continued to grow the company. Using a model that he developed when he first began selling the jars, he partnered with the experts in home preserving at the time to offer cooking classes and promote the spread of canning in religious and community centers. In keeping with this business philosophy, WECK produced a home and garden magazine for over 95 years.

A portrait of Georg van Eyck. (Image courtesy J. WECK)

Mr. Georg van Eyck. (Image courtesy J. WECK)

As he stoked his potential customers’ interest in home preserving, Van Eyck also made improvements to the jars’ design and function. He trademarked WECK and created the strawberry logo with the word “WECK” across the center. It was one of the first trademarks in Germany, and the strawberry logo is still used by the company today.

Not surprisingly, the time around both World War I and World War II proved difficult for the company. During World War I business suffered gravely when all of WECK’s trade agreements with other European countries came to a halt and before the end of World War II, three of the company’s factories were subject to property seizures. After World War II, the company began production at a factory near Bonn, Germany, where they continue to manufacture jars, as well as other commercial glass products such as soda bottles and their ubiquitous glass blocks. The headquarters of the company are still in Öflingen, Germany, where the company was started over 100 years ago.

Preserves in a WECK jar

Nothing says summer like preserves in a WECK canning jar.

Contemporary WECK jars consist of a glass lid, glass jar, rubber ring, and two stainless steel clamps. The clamps, which can be removed after water-bath processing, provide the pressure that weights did in Rempel’s version of the jars. The rubber ring, which is heated to help produce a seal, is the only part of the jar that needs to be replaced with repeated use.

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  1. Jennifer
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

    I LOVE the Weck advertising picture at the top. Is a copy for sale anywhere? Great piece. I've been using Weck jars for a couple years and I adore them!

  2. Robin
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 7:14 AM | Permalink

    Great history lesson !! Can you buy Weck jars in the US ?

  3. Angel Lambart
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    Weck jars always remind me of my honeymoon in Germany where we got yogurt in Weck jars every morning. Great article!

  4. Angel Lambart
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    Weck jars always remind me of my honeymoon in Germany where we got yogurt in Weck jars every morning. Great article!

  5. Nathan
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 1:20 AM | Permalink


  6. Posted May 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    I recently purchased a red enamel container that had Weck Original on the lid. It has 2 small handles on the side and a 2 piece metal latched container on a metal lift to raise and lower it in and out of the big pot. I was told it was a hot lunch bucket, can you give me some insight as to what this maybe and the history. Thank you. Scott

  7. Sabine Johnson
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    I was born in Germany and remember fondly my Grandmother making preserves and jams using Weck jars. Sadly she never taught me. Every time I went home to visit I came away with several jars of preserves. My all time favorite where the cherries.

  8. gardnerh
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    I just found an interesting old Weck Canning Kettle with a built in thermometer at a thrift shop. I've tried finding information about it (maybe 1930's?) but can't seem to find much. Do you have any good sources to look at?

  9. Posted March 20, 2015 at 6:27 PM | Permalink


  10. Jan Scheel
    Posted May 29, 2015 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    I have vintage Weck 3/4 L. cylinder jar. Would appreciate any help dating and determining its value. It has no lid, no clips, no rubber ring. Aside from missing pieces, it is in excellent condition, without chips or cracks. The logo is a heart shape containing a strawberry plant with fruit and leaves, with a banner across the bottom that says "Frischaltung" and over the top of the heart "Schutz Marke". Inside the heart, flanking the strawberry, is the numeral 3 on the left, and the letter W on the right. Underneath the logo, it says "3/4 Ltr." The bottom of the cylinder says Weck's Frischaltung and the number 3, ostensibly for 3/4 liter size. Consistent with it's capacity, it measures about 8 1/2" tall, and has a diameter of 3". I have seen no jars with this logo despite my research. I am happy to send photos if required/requested. Thank you!

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