As a kid in Michigan, I spent many a summer evening in the backyard. As the sun fell and dusk set in, the air would light up with the unique glow of fireflies, or “lightning bugs” as we called them. Inevitably, a good baker’s dozen or more would find themselves locked up in a mason jar (with holes punched, of course) and set on the patio table while less friendly mosquitoes were warded off.
Out west, bug-powered lightning is hard to come by, which is perhaps why my recent discovery of the Sun Jar, from designer Tobias Wong, ignited those fond memories of yesteryear. Instead of capturing helpless fireflies, the Sun Jar takes a decidedly less cruel and more eco-friendly approach to patio and garden lighting: solar power. During the day, built-in solar cells collect solar energy that charges a battery that powers an efficient LED light within a frosted-glass mason jar. It’ll stay lit for five hours on a single charge.
Its amber glow literally looks like sunlight trapped in a jar. While the Sun Jar is yet another addition to a long and growing line of outdoor solar lighting products, its distinctive Midwest-summer-night feel is appealing. Especially for people who, like me, enjoyed hunting lightning bugs as a child or simply adhere to the popular tradition of stashing candlelit mason jars around their deck or patio.
Prices I found for Sun Jars range from $30 (Amazon) to around $40 (various websites). Oh, and if you’re more into moonlight, check out Wong’s Moon Jar. It’s the same design but trades the amber sun-like glow for a cooler blue. Pink is also available.