The performance of an organic coating is highly dependent on its physical and mechanical properties and their variation with temperature. A variety of thermal mechanical methods may be used to define these properties. This paper demonstrates the importance of penetration/indentation methods in the characterization of organic coatings. The use of a thermal mechanical analyzer (TMA) and the ICI Microindentometer to establish softening points, degree of cure, elastic modulus, and indentation hardness and creep is described. Dynamic methods have tended to take over from penetration/indentation techniques in recent years, but the latter still are the only ones that can be used on most field samples (for example, specimens cut from beer cans, car hoods, and washing machines, pieces of metal siding from buildings, chunks of outboard motor castings, and so forth). Typical measurements and their significance in problem solving and coatings evaluation are presented and discussed. The difficulties of dealing with thin films (25 μm or less) and multicoat systems also are addressed. The paper closes with a discussion of the interfacing of a TMA with a computer for better data collection and analysis.