Desert Peoples / Homesteaders

Tobacco Jar

Tobacco Jar

R. J. Reynolds Company
1892 – 1916

Mrs. Keys had an extensive purple glass collection. When exposed to the desert sun, clear glass produced with the additive manganese oxide (ironically as a decolorizer) between 1850 and 1916 will turn purple from exposure to ultraviolet light. Based on the embossing on the bottom, it is likely the jar originally held loose tobacco from the R.J. Reynolds Company.

The same characteristics that made these jars good for storing tobacco also made them useful as kitchen storage containers. According to the family, Mrs. Keys used them to hold and store candy and kitchen staples such as sugar, salt and other dry goods. Secure food storage was extremely important since a trip to the store to replenish supplies was a long multi-day journey on rough dirt roads. Highly valued locally, area residents still collect purple glass.

Glass. H 18, Dia 12.7 cm
Desert Queen Ranch Collection
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 31238