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John Taylor Creator of Taylor Ham Died on this Day in 1909


February 10,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

John Taylor (Born: Oct 06, 1836,Died: Feb 10, 1909 )was an American businessman and politician who served in the New Jersey Senate. He formed Taylor Provisions Company and created John Taylor’s Pork Roll. He also founded the Taylor Opera House in Trenton, New Jersey. Taylor Street in Trenton is also named for him.

But his legacy was created in 1856 Mr. John Taylor of Hamilton Square, NJ began producing a meat product that he called Taylor’s Prepared Ham. He used chopped pork and spices, sugar curing and then hickory smoked. Taylor was a state senator as well as a businessman and there are still streets and buildings in Trenton that bear his name to this day.

Taylor kept the recipe for the product he created in 1856 secret. Taylor originally called his product “Taylor’s Prepared Ham”, but was forced to change the name after the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed, since the product did not meet the new legal definition of “ham”. The new name was “Pork Roll” and it was marketed as both “Taylor’s Pork Roll” and “Trenton Pork Roll”. Competitors marketed products with similar names like “Rolled Pork” and “Trenton style Pork Roll” and were sued by Taylor. A 1910 legal case ruled that the words “Pork Roll” could not be trademarked.

Since then several manufacturers make the generic named product “Pork Roll,” John Taylor’s Original Pork Roll is what most New Jerseyans ask for by name. Made since 1856 it ia a main staple of diners, kitchens, Holiday tables, and boardwalks of the Garden State.