Our company has evolved from a Los Angeles, CA company producing corset and shoe laces; in the late 1930's Mr. David Lippy re-founded the company as Western Fishing Lines (WFL) and added braided fishing lines to the product offerings. In 1939 it was moved to Glendale, CA.
The arrival of World War II provided significant opportunity for WFL. Following the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor, the Allied Powers found themselves facing many serious problems. One problem was the availability of Oriental silk used extensively in the manufacture of the cloth used in parachutes and, more importantly to WFL, the shroud lines used to suspend the parachutist. As a result, many airmen flew without parachutes during the early part of the war.
With the invention of nylon, the first synthetic fiber, occurring a few years prior, there was an alternative to the silk constructions being utilized. A crash program sponsored by various governmental and military agencies was developed. Literally hundreds of companies across America were invited to Dayton, OH (present site of Wright-Patterson airfield, the Air Force's primary R&D facility). Among the attendees was Mr. Lippy. The meeting lasted several days and centered on the development and manufacture of nylon parachute cloth, cord, and related assembly techniques and hardware.
As a result of this effort, WFL was awarded a large contract to produce a new nylon parachute cord, Western Fishing Lines technical expertise aided in the writing of the first military specification for this cord. During the next five years, tens of millions of yards of nylon parachute cord were produced by WFL.
At the conclusion of the war, WFL had a large quantity of nylon yarn, but no new contracts for the cord. In an attempt to utilize the nylon surplus, a variety of braided fishing line constructions were attempted; unfortunately each of these had certain drawbacks, which made many of them unsuitable for fishing lines.
Realizing there was a substantial demand for quality fishing lines, WFL continued to pursue this recreational market. WFL recognized the potential for extruded monofilament nylon as a fishing line and was one of the first companies in America to market the new monofilament fishing lines; these lines were marketed as the "W-40" brand of fishing lines with the "How To Catch A Mermaid" advertising campaign
WFL continued to prosper in to the early 1960's and was purchased in 1965 by International Fastener Research Corporation, a Los Angeles holding company. This transaction resulted in Western Filament, Inc. (WFI). With increased funding and new management, the future looked good for the new company with a 25-year history.
During the next few years, an attempt to broaden the company's scope to include industrial products left the company without focus. By now the company produced fishing line, sewing thread, shoelaces, marine rope, upholstery twine, and lacing tapes. However, the lack of focus resulted in many changes for 1973.
In early 1973 Burke Wright was made President of WFI; this followed four years as National Sales Manager of Industrial Products, during which time he attempted to focus WFI on the potentially more stable industrial products. Upon this transfer of power, the management team was stabilized and the Company focus was redefined.
Over the next few years, many traditional commercial and consumer items were eliminated. In a three-year period, products, which at one time accounted for 75% of WFI's total sales, were discontinued. These included many types of fishing line, sewing threads, shoelaces, and large ropes. In their place came industrially oriented products of a more technical nature. Many of these items remain in our present production line.
After five years as president, Burke Wright purchased all shares of WFI in 1978; with this transaction, WFI once again became a family owned business. Twelve years after the purchase, Burke decided to move the company from California. After being suited by many different cities, Grand Junction, Colorado was chosen as the new home for Western Filament. Thus, in September of 1990, WFI moved into its new, state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot facility. We now utilize over 4,000 state of the art braiding machines, 2,000 twisting spindles, a full in house dye facility, and hundreds of multi-wind spooling heads.
In 1991 a Recreational Product division was re-created in order to recapture the market share WFI once held in the fishing line sector. At that time WFI introduced a new high performance ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fiber known as Spectra® fishing line to the fishing market. The results were phenomenal and caused a revolution in traditional methods of fishing. The new breed of fishing lines offered increased sensitivity, longer life, higher abrasion resistance, and, best of all, a diameter less than half that of traditional monofilament line.
The recreational division went on to introduce a series of high performance kite string, drawstring cords, and bowstring materials, which offer performance unheard of five years prior. One of the bowstring materials is so advanced a patent was awarded for its construction in 1998.
In 1993 the reigns of presidency passed to Wayne Wright, Burke Wright's son. Under Wayne's leadership, WFI continued to grow and enter new markets. With Wayne's engineering background, new innovation, higher quality, and vertical integration became the main focus. In 2005, Wayne Wright appointed Rex Nelson, former Recreational Sales Manager, as President of Western Filament. Rex joined the company in 1991 originally under Burke Wright's supervision. With Rex's business management and sales background, Western Filament has seen tremendous double-digit growth over the past four years... with the largest sales volume in Western Filament's history in 2008.
In 2000 WFI pursued ISO 9000 registration to ease approval as a supplier to many aerospace companies and to allow for increased expansion into the European Union. After only six months, WFI passed our initial audit with NQA-USA effortlessly and has maintained its' ISO certification since.
WFI currently offers a product mix of both recreational and industrial use. Fishing line products account for over 60% of the companies' revenue and include TUF Line premium braided fishing line, high performance kite line, bowstring materials, and other recreational products. Industrial products include electrical and aerospace lacing tapes, motor tie, expandable sleeving, and ultra high temperature sleevings.