Antique Meat Thermometer

Pork Roast Temperatures.

Mercurial Readings.

What is the appropriate internal temperature for a pork roast? Seems like an easy enough question. However, did you know that the USDA updated the guidelines for safe pork temperatures just recently in 2011? News to me. They now recommend that pork is safe at 145°F.

I’m not big on pork roasts. They just don’t jump out at me as an easy-to-make cut of meat. But I found myself facing down a 3 lb. roast the other day trying to figure out what to do. After covering it in Italian herbs, butter, and lemon, and lovingly tucking it into the oven, I realized that I had no idea how long it would need to cook. So, after a little research, I set the timer for 70 minutes and went to my kitchen gadget draw to look for my rusty trusty meat thermometer… The Taylor Roast Meat and Poultry Thermometer – mercury style, thank you very much.

Taylor Roast Meat Thermometer

Any guesses as to the date?

No idea how old this actually is, or where it came from, now that I think about it. It seems like the ’50s to me, but I’m curious to know what others say. No dates on the box. Really the only time I ever use it is for the Thanksgiving turkey. Judging by that, I’ve probably used it a half-dozen times since it came under my ownership.

Check out this detailed temperature chart.

Taylor Meat Thermometer Box Lid
Helpful Chart from Taylor Instrument Companies.

The temperature chart lists that the pork loin should have been roasted 35 min. per pound, almost two times longer than I actually baked it.


How to Use the Taylor Roast Meat Thermometer

Prepare roast for oven as usual when using the skewer packed herewith, drive a hole into the thickest part of the meat, pull out the skewer and carefully insert thermometer in the hole thus made. The point of the thermometer should be in the center of the meat and must not contact bone, gristle or fat. Place the meat in the oven with the thermometer there during the cooking process. When the black liquid in the tube (*ahem* MERCURY) reads in the desired stage remove meat and it will be cooked just right.


This thermometer is very sensitive. Read immediately as you open oven door as liquid (*ahem* MERCURY) will recede if oven door is left open just a short time. Do not touch thermometer with damp cloth or place it on cold surface while it is hot. It will fracture the glass.

Authorities agree that moderate oven temperatures are best to conserve flavor and juices. Use oven at 300°F to 350°F. An Oven Thermometer will tell you accurately. With high oven temperatures as much as from 25% to 30% of your meat is lost by shrinkage, and unpalatable food results. Best roasts are produced by keeping meats uncovered in oven, eliminating all basting and searing.

WARNING. When using frozen meat be sure it is entirely thawed out to the center before making hole with the skewer for inserting the thermometer.


If you read the thermometer carefully, you’ll see that the fresh pork temperature mark is set to 185°F, 40°F higher than the new standards. If I had followed this recommendation, it would have been a tough roast indeed! This is a good example of when the antique cooking utensil may be best left in the box.

The thermometer still worked, though. I pulled the roast out when it just hit ‘Rare Beef’. The roast was delicious. Moist. Flavorful. Tender.

Herbed Pork Roast

Time for a new thermometer…

Interested in learning more? Read about cooking meats from antique cookbooks.

More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks

6 thoughts on “Antique Meat Thermometer

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  1. That was an interesting article. I’ve only cooked a pork roast once or twice. I must confess, I didn’t use a thermometer. I wrapped that baby in some foil with various seasonings. I was making pulled pork.

    Liked by 1 person

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