kids encyclopedia robot

Amanda Jones (inventor) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Amanda Theodosia Jones
AmandaJones August1879a rescanned.jpg
Jones at age 44 (1879)
Born (1835-10-19)October 19, 1835
East Bloomfield, New York, US
Died March 31, 1914(1914-03-31) (aged 78)
Brooklyn, New York, US
Resting place Riverside Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio, US
Nationality American
  • Inventor
  • Poet & author
  • Spiritualist

Amanda Theodosia Jones (October 19, 1835 – March 31, 1914) was an American author and inventor, most noted for inventing a vacuum method of canning called the Jones Process.

Jones was descended from Puritan, Huguenot, Quaker and Methodist ancestors. Her forefathers were among the patriots of the American Revolution. She wrote a number of war poems during the Civil War. These were published, with others, in book form. Ill health for a number of years made it impossible for her to keep up her literary work. Some of her poems appeared in Scribner's Magazine while others were published in the Century, Our Continent, and other journals. She published a volume of verse entitled A Prairie Idyl and Other Poems. She made her home in Chicago, Illinois.

Early life and education

Jones was born in East Bloomfield, New York, on October 19, 1835, the fourth child of Henry and Mary Alma (Mott) Jones. She attended district schools in East Bloomfield and Black Rock, New York; she completed normal school training at the East Aurora Academy in New York and began teaching at the age of fifteen. In 1859, she contracted tuberculosis and spent over a year and a half recovering from the illness. Although she overcame the primary phase of the illness, Jones never fully recovered and would undergo spa treatments and alternative medicine practices to deal with the long term difficulties.

Influence of spiritualism

Influenced by the writings of Thomas Dick and the spiritualism movement, Jones became a convert to spiritualism in 1854 and believed herself to be a medium. In 1869, believing that the spirits wanted her there, she moved to Chicago, where she wrote for a number of periodicals, including Western Rural, Universe, Interior, and Bright Sides.

Patents and inventions – 1872–1880

While working as an editor in Chicago, Jones allegedly befriended a doctor by the name of Johnathon Andrews. He often was known as an advocate and practitioner of unorthodox healing methods on the basis that “love transcended death”. Jones, with her interest and background in spirituality, was enthusiastic about Andrews’’ views on medicine and enlisted his help in battling her ailments following her bout with tuberculosis. For five years, Andrews allegedly treated Jones using air baths, a treatment where the patient would spend a period of time in a tank full of compressed air.

In 1872, Jones developed a vacuum canning process for preserving food, with the help of Professor Leroy C. Cooley of Albany, who was the brother-in-law of her sister Emily. At the time, food safety and preservation was only beginning to be understood. While canning food had been relatively popular for European militaries, the system had its problems. The popular system of canning at that time, invented in 1810 by Nicolas-Francois Appert, required food to be thoroughly cooked before being stored, often leaving the food mushy and tasteless. This preserved food was also often canned in tin cans, which posed difficulty for consumers since can openers had not yet been invented. This process was only attainable using large machinery and manufacturing resources, causing consumers to rely on purchasing preserved foods instead of being able to do it at home.

The Jones Method involved steaming sealed jars filled with fruits and vegetables in a light syrup, fruit juice, or water, to an internal temperature of 120०F, forcing the air out of the jar and thus creating an airtight seal which would protect the food from oxygen that fuels the growth of bacteria. Jones’ invention would allow for food to be preserved uncooked, allowing fresh fruits and vegetables to be enjoyed later in the season. Her invention allowed for easier opening, using a glass jar and vacuum sealed lid instead of a seam sealed tin can, and made the act of food preservation more attainable to people at home.

On June 3, 1873, Cooley obtained a patent on an apparatus for preserving fruit which he assigned to Jones. On the same day, a second patent was issued to both Cooley and Jones for their process, and two more patents were issued solely to Jones for her improved jar. Later, on June 24 of the same year, Cooley obtained a patent for the device that removes air from jars, making the patent the fifth and final to constitute the Jones Preserving Process.

In 1910, Jones published A Psychic Autobiography where it was revealed Jones’ two primary advisors, one of which was Andrews, had been dead at the time they allegedly advised her. Jones claims their influence and guidance had been gained through seances which she frequently attended.

Again following the advice of the spirits she communicated with, she developed another invention, an oil burner, which she patented in 1880. However, her attempts to establish businesses based on her inventions were unsuccessful, and she returned to writing, publishing A Prairie Idyll in 1882. There is one reference (Stanley, Autumn – See Bibliography) that maintains she has a patent for a Ready-Opener Tin Can, but that is the only, unsupported, reference to this patent.

Following the invention of the Jones Preserving Process and the sale of the Women’s Canning and Preserving Company, Jones continues inventing, staking claim to the oil burner, several types of valves, and a form of the tin can opener, giving her six patents in total.

Founding of Women's Canning and Preserving Company – 1890

A strong supporter of women's rights and suffrage, she founded the Women's Canning and Preserving Company in Chicago in 1890, which employed only women. In an address to her employees, Jones said that "This is a woman's industry. No man will vote our stock, transact our business, keep our books, pronounce on women's wages, supervise our factories. Give men whatever work is suitable, but keep the governing power. This is a business training school for working women – you with all the rest. Here is a mission; let it be fulfilled." When this venture failed in 1893, she left Chicago for Junction City, Kansas, where two of her sisters lived.

The business saw considerable profits in the first year, attracting investors that expected to see greater profits. A group of investors brough the canning business, with dispute over whether Jones willingly sold the company or if she was pushed out.

Later life

Jones continued to work with both of her inventions, obtaining patents on the canning process in 1903, 1905, and 1906, and additional patents relating to the oil burner in 1904, 1912, and 1914. She continued to publish occasional literary works, including the Rubaiyat of Solomon and Other Poems in 1905.

Following the Spanish–American War the U.S. Navy began investigating the transition from coal fired ships to oil. In 1904 they released a 489-page report which detailed extensively a comparison between coal and oil. Jones was asked to write a technical review of the report for Engineer: With which is Incorporated Steam Engineering. According to her obituary she was paid liberally for her contribution of four articles in 1904 and 1905. Those articles are online at the HathiTrust:

In 1910, she published her autobiography, A Psychic Autobiography, which focused on her interest in spiritualism. Late in her life, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, to pursue business interests, where she died of influenza in 1914. She was listed in Who's Who in America for 1912–13 and in Woman's Who's Who in America for 1914–15.

She is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio in her brother William's plot.


She quit teaching in 1854 after her first poem was published by the Ladies' Repository of Cincinnati. In 1861, she published Ulah, and Other Poems; a second book of verse, Poems, was published in 1867. Her health had been fragile since contracting tuberculosis in 1859; after the publication of Poems, she spent a year recuperating at the home of her widowed mother in Wisconsin.


Jones published six books in her lifetime. All are available online at the Internet Archive.

  1. Ulah: And Other Poems. Jones, Amanda T. Buffalo: H.H. Otis. 1861
  2. Poems. By Amanda T. Jones, Published/Created: New York, Hurd and Houghton, 1867.
  3. A Prairie Idyl, and Other Poems. Published/Created: Chicago, Jansen, McClurg & company, 1882.
  4. Rubáiyát of Solomon, and Other Poems. By Amanda T. Jones; Introduction by J. N. Larned. Published/Created: New York, Alden brothers, 1905.
  5. Poems, 1854–1906, by Amanda T. Jones. Published/Created: New York, Alden Brothers, 1906.
  6. A Psychic Autobiography / by Amanda T. Jones; with introduction by James H. Hyslop. Published/Created: New York: Greaves Publishing Co., c1910.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Amanda Jones para niños

kids search engine
Amanda Jones (inventor) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.