From humble beginnings as a wooden fishing boat builder more than eighty years ago, Palmer Johnson has emerged as one of the world's leading buildiers of luxury high performance yachts.
Throughout its history Palmer Johnson has established a reputation for high standards of excellence, innovation, and performance. This craftsmanship has captured the hearts and imaginations of enthusiasts all around the world.
Palmer Johnson Yachts, founded in 1918 as Johnson and Gmack, began by building and repairing boats for the Great Lakes commercial fishing fleet. This continued until 1928, when Palmer Johnson, the founder's son, built the firm's first wooden yacht. As the reputation for small, high-quality yachts grew, so did the orders for custom wooden yachts.
When the United States entered WWII, and as most industry in the country rallied around the war effort, Palmer Johnson, then called Sturgeon Bay Boat Works, was no different. Over forty 45-foot air-sea rescue boats and four 65-foot “T” class freighters were built during the war years. At war's end a few custom yachts, as well as a series of 27-foot and 33-foot wooden stock sailboats were being built.
In 1956 the company was officially named Palmer Johnson Boats, Inc. and was sold to a group of local Sturgeon Bay businessmen. In 1961, after being sold to Texas Instrument founder Pat Haggerty, a commitment was made to the then new field of welded aluminum construction, which continues to today.