This year Feeney® turns 75 years old, marking three-quarters of a century as the industry leader in modern railing systems. Feeney has grown from its roots as a wire rope and rigging company to a thriving, family-owned company specializing in cable railing systems and aluminum architectural and garden products.
“75 years of business is not an accomplishment we take lightly, and we know it is only with the support of our loyal customers and dedicated employees that this milestone is possible,” said Katrina Ralston, President of Feeney. “At every step along the way, our innovations have been driven by listening to the needs of those in our industry. It’s that responsiveness to ever-evolving market trends and customer needs that has helped secure our reputation as one of the leaders in quality architectural railing.”
A History of Innovation
Founded in 1948 by Jim Feeney, Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging started on the waterfront of the San Francisco Bay. As Berkeley, and the Bay Area, flourished with maritime, military, and construction companies in the post-World War II era, Feeney quickly gained a reputation for providing quality custom rigging solutions and superior service.
With its purchase by Ernest Ralston in 1979, Feeney was able to bring stainless steel cable railing from the water to the land and into the realm of architecture. As builders and architects started showing interest in modern, streamlined looks, Feeney created easy to install CableRail Kits with prefabricated cable assemblies sold in standardized lengths that could be trimmed to exact size in the field. These kits incorporated Feeney’s patented, automatic jaw-locking Quick-Connect® fitting for ease of installation with no special tools. Within ten years, Feeney opened a facility in Eugene, Oregon to develop new product lines for the industry’s changing needs, including its garden trellis collection and architectural line of aluminum railing frames, DesignRail®.
Presently, Feeney is led by co-owners Grissell Ralston and Katrina Ralston. Under their leadership since 2007, Feeney has grown to meet the increasing demand for stylish architectural products and developed new forward-thinking design solutions for both interiors and exterior projects.
“The way people live and work in spaces is constantly changing, and it’s our job to keep a finger on the pulse of what those in the industry need to be successful,” Katrina Ralston said. “So while we have made it our mission to always be at the forefront of innovation and design, our customers can count on our commitment to premium quality, unmatched safety and beautiful aesthetics to remain consistent.”
That attention to trends in architecture and design has resulted in media attention and awards in the building products industry. In 2022 Feeney’s Wood Grain Top Rail was a finalist in the Best of IBS Best Outdoor Product and was a 2020 winner of Architectural Products magazine’s annual Product Innovations Awards. These accolades further cemented Feeney’s status among professionals and consumers alike as the leader in interior and exterior railing systems. Feeney has also highly sought after by builders and homeowners, attaining multiple awards from the North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA).
Beyond leading the way with innovative product offerings, Feeney’s leadership sees sustainability as tantamount to the company’s future success.
“We recognize that future generations will benefit from what we do as a business now, which is why we design our products to be durable and have long use cycles. Feeney products do not require constant maintenance or harsh chemicals, and are built to remain beautiful for years,” Ralston said. “Our materials and products are also lightweight, using less raw material and allowing easier handling, lower shipping costs and less fuel consumption.”
Feeney’s products are made from stainless steel and/or aluminum, which are among the most recycled materials in the world. Many Feeney products contain reclaimed content, with CableRail fittings, cable, and stainless-steel architectural rods coming in at 96.7% post-consumer recycled content. Prefinished and requiring very little maintenance, Feeney’s products reduce the use of contaminating chemicals found in treatments, stains, solvents and varnishes.
Feeney facilities are green too! In 2011, a 380-panel solar system was installed for the Oakland manufacturing facility to offset 95% of its commercial electric use. Their manufacturing plant in Nebraska features an advanced powder coating line that emits no volatile organic compounds or heavy metal waste, uses a non-chromium pretreatment wash, and reclaims 93% of the wastewater via a reverse-osmosis membrane filtration system.
“We look forward to celebrating another 75 years of achievement, and that means continuing our commitment to environmental sustainability efforts for the next generation,” said Katrina Ralston. “We’re honored to have been a member of the United States Green Building Council for the last 15 years as we work towards a better future — not only for our own company, but the world.”