M20654 | Easy Reading Dairy Thermometer

Easy Reading Dairy Thermometer
1875-1925, 19th century or 20th century
20 cm
Gift of Miss Mabel Molson
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Thermometer (3)
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Keys to History

Bacteriological analysis revealed that milk was a favourable breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria. Just as milk is an excellent source of food for infants and children, the nutrients it contains are very good for bacteria, too; and with each hour that passes, the number of bacteria grows by leaps and bounds. Heat provides an added boost that helps microbes in milk to multiply. It should therefore come as no surprise that physicians and hygienists were concerned about the conditions under which milk was kept on its long trip from the country to the city. They tried to convince railway companies to use refrigerated cars for transporting milk. They put pressure on the municipal authorities to get them to prohibit the sale of "fresh" milk if over 30 hours had elapsed since milking time. Inspectors were given the power to confiscate milk if its temperature exceeded 60°F (15°C)!

  • What

    Thermometers were essential equipment for milk inspectors, who had to check the temperature of the milk at different stages on its trip from the farm to the consumer.

  • Where

    Bacteriological analyses conducted in the laboratories of the City of Montreal's Board of Health showed that heat made the bacterial count in milk shoot up.

  • When

    In 1915 the federal Board of Railway Commissioners was still refusing to compel railway companies to use refrigerated cars for transporting milk.

  • Who

    This thermometer was one of many items given to the McCord Museum by Miss Mabel Molson (1878-1973).