Tracing Taylor's Development: From 1930 to Today
SUMMARY: Taylor Technologies is one of America's leading manufacturers of products for analyzing water chemistry on-site. Nearly 600 different test-kit configurations are offered, with options for wet- and dry-chemistry methods as well as microprocessor-based instruments. Founded as W. A. Taylor & Company in 1930 in Baltimore, we were incorporated in 1967 as Taylor Chemicals. In 1980 the third and present generation of ownership committed to expanding the company's capabilities to all areas of water analysis and our name was changed in 1986 to reflect that expanded vision. The market for our products is, quite simply, wherever water quality is monitored, including industrial water treatment (primarily boiler and cooling systems), residential and commercial water conditioning, food processing and beverage production, swimming pool/spa maintenance, and municipal water and wastewater treatment.
How We Got Started
1930 was quite a year for new product introductions. For the first time, windshield wipers, camera flash bulbs, and Taylor test kits were on the market. Servicing mostly industrial accounts, W. A. Taylor & Company was the brainchild of Dr. William Taylor, Fred McCrumb, and Dr. George Miller. The trio began production with a strong knowledge of chemistry, a handful of employees, and a lofty goal—to manufacture the world's best water analysis products.
In the early '40s, Dr. Taylor relocated the business from downtown Baltimore to the corner of Stevenson Lane and York Road in Towson, then more country than suburb. One three-story building did it all—the basement acted as the warehouse, the office and the production operations took place on the main floor, and the owners resided upstairs. A streetcar line running along York Road provided the thriving young business with accessibility. A double door for receiving allowed Railway Express easy access for pickup and delivery. At times, the chemists used this same area to mix reagents. The challenge was always to take advantage of the limited space afforded by what was once a private home.
This was a successful time for the test kit manufacturer. In a short period, the number of employees doubled. One newcomer was John Lambrecht, a man who would dedicate his career to the company.
We Go Nationwide
After Drs. Taylor and Miller retired in 1967, Mr. Lambrecht became Taylor's president. His ownership brought about many changes for the company, now named Taylor Chemicals, Inc. It was under his leadership that Taylor entered the pool/spa market.
Business boomed. One level was no longer sufficient to house both production and office operations. The residence on the second floor was converted to offices as more responsibilities and positions, including accounting and sales, were added. On the first floor, production's early operations featured a large drum of distilled water, mounted on a platform. After the chemists mixed the distilled water and other ingredients into huge glass jugs, they poured the reagent into beakers. Then using a funnel with a hose and clamp, an employee could fill glass reagent bottles safely. The reagent-filled bottles would then be capped with glass pipets that allowed users to measure the reagent amount.
By the late '60s, Taylor was using flat caps so there would be less chance of spillage, adding pipets as a kit component only as needed. Of course, by then bottles and pipets were plastic, not glass. The next step involved labeling the reagent-filled bottles. An employee would take labels from a batch pre-printed with the reagent name. To affix the label to the bottle, the employee had to first moisten the back. This process was much more time consuming than today's automated method.
Taylor's visibility, particularly in the pool/spa market, steadily increased throughout the '70s. Part of the company's success stemmed from its creation of liquid DPD, a chemical used to measure chlorine's effectiveness as a sanitizer.
We Enter World Markets
Becoming an international competitor in the water analysis marketplace was important to Paul F. Wooden Jr., who purchased the firm in 1980 and renamed it Taylor Technologies, Inc. Besides investing in modern equipment to improve quality control and turnaround times, Taylor's new president established the network of distributors that now supplies our test kits worldwide. He also moved the business 10 miles north to its present base of operations, an industrial park in Sparks, Maryland, conveniently located on a major north-south interstate highway. This plant has seen two major expansions since then to meet our growing company's needs.
Taylor Technologies presently occupies a modern 60,000-square-foot plant in the Loveton Center industrial park; boasts state-of-the-art management information systems, computerized work stations, and a sophisticated call center for sales and customer service; and employs a skilled workforce to design its products and operate complex machinery for molding plastic components, filling and labeling reagent bottles and kits, and shipping the products around the globe.
While still manufacturing test kits for swimming pools and spas and industrial boiler and cooling systems, Taylor's product line now includes kits for numerous other uses: paper manufacturing and surface finishing; municipal water and wastewater treatment; stormwater monitoring and related water pollution control activities; residential and commercial water conditioning; food and beverage production; turf maintenance; even as teaching aids for high school ecology classes. Nearly 600 different test kits are currently offered.
"What I've sought to do is grow the business, but in doing so, I haven't altered what's always been at the heart of Taylor—treating employees and customers with respect and consideration," says Paul Wooden. "And we still hold the same goal as our founders did in 1930, to manufacture the best water analysis products around."
A new campus for Taylor Technologies is moving off the drawing board and into the first stages of construction. Physically we're just moving a mile away, but these facilities will enable us to make progress in great leaps and bounds. Our plans include vastly expanded space for manufacturing dry-chemistry products, such as the sureTRACK line of test strips. Soon we also hope to offer on-site training sessions to customers seeking to upgrade their employees' water-testing know-how.