In the year 1908 in the town Gloversville in upstate New York, Nelson A. Taylor opened a canvas and awning shop, stitching and selling horse cart and automobile tops, storefront awnings and tents for customers. Jumping to 1945, Taylor Made took its first tentative steps into the boating marketplace with a selection of sewn canvas covers for boats. Nelson Taylor’s canvas business was about to undergo a dramatic transformation to boats.
With Nelson Taylor’s passing in 1946, his son Bill took over the family business. Bill, said to be a “quintessential entrepreneur,” would proceed to reinvent the company and transform it into an international powerhouse in the recreational boating industry, the indisputable leader in marine glass and windshield technology, and one of the leading suppliers of fenders, flags, covers and other aftermarket accessories. The N.A. Taylor company was about to emerge as Taylor Made.
As an entrepreneur, Bill Taylor couldn’t resist the call of diversification. The rising population of boats and boaters was creating a significant aftermarket. Taylor Made decided to get into the fender business. At first, the company bought fenders from a nearby company that made footballs and other sports equipment using seamless rotational molding machines. As demand increased, Taylor Made bought its own rotational molding equipment, and in 1971, was the first supplier to offer vinyl fenders “guaranteed for the life of your boat”—a guarantee that still comes with every Taylor Made fender 37 years later.
Taylor Made celebrates its 100th anniversary. Clearly much has changed during those years. Nelson Taylor’s custom canvas shop has been transformed by three generations of Taylors into a diversified powerhouse in the North American recreational boating market, with an ever-growing presence overseas as well. But some things have not changed. Taylor Made is still a privately held family business with a strong tradition of entrepreneurship, innovation, savvy acquisitions and continued reinvestment in technology.
Of course, through all these years of diversification, Taylor Made did not neglect its core of canvas and awning work. The company’s pattern of growth through investment in technology, innovation and selective acquisitions continued. Switching to marine grade polyester, Taylor Made has produced unique and innovative selection of quality marine accessories.
“Taylor Made has spent a lot of time in the last couple of years acknowledging that the pontoon is still a growing segment in the boating industry, but demands products that are unique to its application. So Taylor Made has come up with a few fender products and sewn products that are unique to the pontoon industry,” says Dave Karpinski, vice president of marketing, Taylor Made Products.
Pontoon Playpen Shade
New in 2008, Taylor Made Products has introduced a sun shade that mounts to the front end of pontoon boats to offer increased protection from the elements. Some of the newer pontoons have those full sewn in enclosures, but if your toon doesn’t have that, all your seats and carpet can start to fade and get dirty from sun exposure. The Pontoon Playpen Shade is a way to enclose the majority of your pontoon, while docked or moored. Or get a lighter colored one and it provides shade to get your kids out of the sun.
The Pontoon Playpen Shade provides a quick and easy way to gain additional shade while protecting the vinyl seating in the pontoon boat from the sun’s harmful UV rays as well as dirt, debris, wind and moisture. Available in sizes to accommodate boats up to 102 inches in width, the Pontoon Playpen Shade provides up to 12 feet of coverage.
Offered in nine colors to best match any boat, the Pontoon Playpen Shade is constructed of strong, yet light weight Hot Shot marine-grade polyester. It fastens to the existing front bow of the bimini or hard top and extends down to the playpen area. The shade is secured by adjustable straps and quick release buckles for simple yet fast installation and folds down for compact storage.
“Prolonged exposure to the sun and other elements can cause cracking, fading and discoloration. In addition to providing shade, the protection offered by the new Pontoon Top Shade is a preventative step that could also help extend the life of the boat’s interior,” said Karpinski.
The Gazebo is designed for when the pontoon is being used. Not while underway, but anchored out or dockside if you want more protection that your bimini can provide. For entertaining it has the clearance necessary so you can sit in the seats and you’re not hunched over. Your current pontoon bimini may not be far enough forward, but Taylor Made’s Pontoon Gazebo is a good supplement to your bimini.
The Pontoon Gazebo is a quick and easy way to gain additional shaded area on your pontoon. This product is new as of last year, so now it is easily found in retailers all over the country. The Pontoon Gazebo accommodates both 96-inch and 102-inch-wide boats and extends out to 8 feet of coverage. Constructed from Hot Shot marine grade polyester fabric, the top is strong yet light weight. It is supported by shock-corded fiberglass pole framework that breaks down for convenient storage. The large interior radius allows you to sit comfortably without bending over and provides excellent head room.
After initial installation of permanently mounted hardware to your playpen rail, the Pontoon Gazebo attaches easily and comes down in minutes. Comes complete with shade top, frame, marine grade hardware and storage bag, and is available in nine colors to best match your boat. The Gazebo measures 8 feet long and 102 inches wide and approximately 50 inches high from mounting point, and this product is designed to provide shade while moored or anchored only.
Instead of using inflatable round fenders that can lift out of the way and while the boat is rocking, these fenders can just lay on top of the logs instead of protecting your toon from the dock or other boats. This Taylor Made pontoon specific fender has clips underneath. These unique fenders offer a level of protection to areas on the pontoon boat other fenders can’t provide. The fender is almost T-shaped underneath so it can grab up and under the deck of the boat. It has a concave back where it rests against the log of the boat so it nestles right in between the log and the deck of the boat.
The Pontoon Fender is specifically designed to fit snugly between the pontoon and the deck of the boat, protection both from rafting boats, docks or other objects. All pontoon fenders are made from Taylor Made marine grade UV resistant vinyl and have an integrated rubber football style valve for easy inflations. The strap is the most convenient way to hang it. You can also permanently mount this fender to your toon. It’s the only fender in the marine industry that is designed specifically for pontoons. It will not lift or separate out of place when the boat is rocking and rolling around the dock.
Taylor Made Products, a member of the Taylor Made Group, is one of the largest and most innovative suppliers of marine aftermarket products, including buoys, fenders, boat covers, bimini tops, dock products, flags, pennants and hardware.
Celebrating 100 years of innovation, the Gloversville, N.Y.-based Taylor Made Group is one of the recreational marine industry’s largest, most diversified suppliers to boat builders and the aftermarket. The Taylor Made Group includes Taylor Made Products, Taylor Made Systems, Taylorbrite LLC, Trend Marine and Water Bonnet. The Group operates 12 facilities in the United States, the Republic of Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. Employing more than 1,300 associates, its products are distributed through a worldwide distribution network.
For sales inquiries, contact Taylor Made Products by phone, 518-773-9400, or log on to