Frank Kibler was one of the key players and last owner of the Feather Craft Boat Company. Below are a few photos that are from Frank Kiblers personal photo albums. ( the pictures change each time this page is opened.)
As the name implies, Feather Craft boats were built as a light-weight alternative to the wood boats of the post-World War II market. "The company was founded in 1946 by my unlce, W. Douglas Knight," remembers Frank Kibler, who would later become president of Feather Craft. "He was associated with J.T. Knight, a metal dealer involved in scrap metals and aluminum before he went out on his own. After the war years, the aircraft companies were all shifting their production to other goods. The Aluminum companies were looking for new markets and gave us a lot of assistance in gearing up for boat production."
Feather Craft's unique barrelback design set it apart from other products in the aluminum boat market. Once the dominion of the large mahogany runabouts, the unique tumblehome styling looked just right on the small outboard runabouts. Article from the: Atlanta Journal Thursday, February 2, 1950
Atlanta Firm Building New Racing Boats
Something new in the way of streamlined racing boats is being manufactured here by Feather Craft, Inc. 575 Marietta st., N.W.The craft, an all aluminum job, is made to carry an outboard motor, and it is designed for use with C. D, E, and F Stock utility racing motors.
The company, which was incorporated here in July 1946, is sending one of the new boats called the “Flyer” to Chicago, where it will be on display at the National Boat Show Feb. 10 through 19. One of the two real racing models to be produced by Feather Craft, the boat was flown to the Windy City Thursday via Delta Air Lines.
Frank Kibler, vice-president and sales manager of the firm said Feather Craft is rapidly expanding its dealer organization and is now serving a national market.Production averages 25 to 35 units a week during the winter or slack season, and climbs up to a peak of 65 or more during peak season in the summer.Most of the workers at the plant are former Bell Bomber plant workers, Mr. Kibler said.
Products include a number of different kinds of small craft, all of aluminum, varying from utility rowboats and swamp skiffs to fishing boats and racers.W. Douglas Knight is President and production manager of the company.
Knight, Walter Douglas
NASHVILLE - Walter Douglas Knight, 100, died Sept. 27, 2003. Mr. Knight was born in Columbus, Ga., the son of James T. Knight and Lena Blanchard Knight. He was a 1923 graduate of Auburn University and lettered in football, baseball and basketball. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and a lifelong member of the Auburn Letterman Club. Mr. Knight spent his early career in the family scrap metal business, with operations in Columbus and Savannah, Ga. Following World War II, he founded Feather Craft Boats in Atlanta, one of the first manufacturers of aluminum boats in the nation. He later served as president of Wesley Manufacturing Co. in Decatur. He was an avid fisherman and a member of the Muscogee County Fishing Club of Wewahitchka, Fla. Mr. Knight was preceded in death by his first wife, Elise McClintock Knight; and his second wife, Genevieve Gray Knight. Survivors include his daughter, Susanna (Bill) Hayward of Nashville; son, Harry Knight of Thomasville, Ga.; grandson, Duane (Lisa) Hayward of Hendersonville; and great-grandson, Joshua Hayward. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today with John Carpenter and the Rev. Dr. Gary Brock officiating. Visitation with family will be held from noon-1 p.m. today. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Forest Hills United Methodist Church, 1250 Old Hickory Blvd., Brentwood, TN 37027; or the charity of choice.
Article about Feather Craft in "Tail Fins and Two Tones"
This article disputes a previous article written in Classic Boating by Lee Wangstad (see article under Feather Craft Articles) that incorrectly indicated the actual year of incorporation for Feather Craft. This is also a very good article as i pretty much covers Feather Craft history from start to finish.
Feather Craft History - Information gathered by www.feathercraftboats.com
Not much history has yet been obtained for FEATHER CRAFT, INC. of Atlanta, GA. This site would appreciate any additional history that anyone out there has, including factory pictures (exterior and interior). What little that has been garnered has come from Mr. Frank M. Kibbler (final operator of the company) and Mrs. Jackie Slaton (a secretary of the Feather Craft company). Feather Craft, Inc. of Atlanta, GA was founded by W. D. (Doug) Knight in 1946. Mr. Knight owned and served as president of the company until the late sixties. The company was then sold to Mr. Frank M. Kibbler, who operated the company until it closed.
The company operated at three different locations in the Metro Atlanta area. These were: 575 Marietta St. (off Northside Dr.), 450 Bishop St. (off Northside Dr. also) and its final location in Lawrenceville, GA. In addition to U.S. production Feather Craft boats were built by Fleet Manufacturing Ltd in Fort Erie, Ontario Canada: Feather Craft, Inc. built many different types of boats, but aluminum fishing boats were their biggest sellers. Probably their most popular model was the "Vagabond". This model was first manufactured in 1951 and was designed by Mr. Ralph Aldredge. The early versions were 14' 1" long and rated at 25 h.p.. By 1959 (last year of production) it had evolved into a 14' 7" boat rated at 45 h.p.. Originally the Feather Craft "Vagabond" was offered in aluminum color only, but later it was also offered in anodized (not painted) gold or blue (1957, 1958 and 1959). It was thought that the colors were introduced to attract female boaters.
These are and continue to be some of the most unique and well built aluminum boats ever produced. During the later years of the company, military landing craft and foot bridges were built for use in Vietnam. Experience had already been gained during the Korean War for this type of aluminum fabrication. Additionally, the company manufactured components for other marine manufacturers.
Feather Craft Factory Photos - July 2003 450 Bishop Street
On a trip down to south Atlanta, Georgia to pick up my brother's 1958 Feather Craft Vagabond II, I stopped by the old Feather Craft plant on 450 Bishop street and took several pictures.
Other photos from the factory during the early production days
Description: Feather Craft Company Incorporated; 575 Marietta Street; [Men fishing]
Date: 11/15/49 Box: LBCB49 Envelope: 110
Notes: 1 negative removed to cold storage. Box 49, Sheet 110.
Description: Feather Craft Incorporated
Date: 12/31/51 Box: LBCB49 Envelope: 111
Notes: 3 negative removed to cold storage. Box 49, Sheet 111.
1956 picture of the Feather Craft Factory.
Address / Maps for the different locations for Feather Craft
Feather Craft boats were built mainly in the State of Georgia.
The Feather Craft Factory was located in Atlanta, Georgia.
The different addresses for the various location in Atlanta
1951: 575 Marietta Street,N.W. - Atlanta, Georgia
1952: 450 Bishop Street, N.W. Atlanta, Georgia (red pin)
1956: 450 Bishop Street, N.W. Atlanta 13, Georgia (red pin)
1969: Industrial Park Dr., P.O. Box 568, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30245 (Metro Atlanta, GA)
1956: In Canada: Fleet Manufacturing Ltd, Fort Erie, Ontario (Fleet Feather Craft)
19**: Feather Craft of Canada, Welland, On.
Feather Craft Beginning...