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Color designs for Old Town Canoes and Boats.

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by dhansen, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. dhansen

    dhansen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Has anyone written about the origins of the Old Town Color Designs offered in the catalogs for their canoes and boats? I tried searching the forum without luck.

    I am specifically interested in the origin of the Greek Design in its various forms and colors.

    TIA, Dennis.
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The page at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/thumbnal.html shows the Old Town designs and estimates their popularity. The design number 37 with Greek ends appears to have been the most popular. The other designs numbered 14, 17, 24, and 32 also featured stripes with Greek ends. I'm not aware of anything that has been written about the origins of these designs. Everyone who was involved died long ago so there isn't anyone left to ask. Similar designs were available from a variety of builders as documented at http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/post-your-pinstripes-lettering-artwork.5524/#post-30019 and elsewhere. Please let me know if you find a source for more information about this,

    Benson
     
  3. OP
    OP
    dhansen

    dhansen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Benson. I have a friend in Greece so I sent him a photo of the Greek end to see if it meant anything special to him. I came across the following item also sporting some greek ends.
    I'm guessing mid to late 30's design. Have not identified the builder yet because the chassis is missing.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The cabinet in your picture may be from the 1930s but a canoe with a stripe and Greek ends was first featured in the 1919 Old Town catalog. The design 14 was introduced in 1920, design 17 in 1924, design 24 in 1925, design 32 in 1928, and design 37 in 1932. The interest in this design may be connected to the Greek Revival in architecture which dates back to the early 1800s as described at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Revival_architecture for example. Good luck with the rest of your research,

    Benson
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  5. OP
    OP
    dhansen

    dhansen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The Greek Ends design certainly predate the Old Town canoe company. Known in modern times as a meander, meandros, Greek fret or Greek key they go all the way back to predate ancient Greece. They could be found in China and the Ancient Near East before their popular use in Ancient Greece perhaps symbolizing infinity and unity. They were found throughout the Roman Empire, Egypt, India, Scandinavia and both North and South America. They all shared a basic theme.

    These early civilizations shared similar conversations. They spoke of the Gods Above and the Gods Below, the Sky Father and the Earth Mother and the Waters-above and the Waters-below. Although there have been variations in the design the symbolism of the mingling of spirit and matter through involution and evolution, is always implied in which the fingers of each are linked in a peculiar manner , forming the fret as illustrated below.
    upload_2020-11-23_14-36-7.png

    So it does in fact have a very specific meaning that is so appropriate for a wood and canvas canoe. The joining of those materials, wood and canvas, to form a link between, present and past, to fill our hearts with, joy and happiness. Our recognition of the magic found in wooden canoes.

    Thanks to my friend in Greece, Chris Tizranis and his link to a Wikipedia post and my chance find of an article by the Theophysical University Press Online Edition.
     
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Very interesting, now for bonus points do you want to investigate the connections between the triangles of the design number four shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/design04.gif and number 22 shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/design22.gif with the lashing patterns and stress relief panels commonly found on bark canoes as shown at http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?attachments/42877/ for example? The page at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/ud-25-ic/ examines another similar ancient symbol which is rarely seen on canoes today. There also might be some significance to the swan in the design number 30 at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/design30.gif and the leaves in the designs numbered 36 at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/design36.gif and 45 at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/design45.gif which may be from an oak tree. This might make a great article for Wooden Canoe magazine.

    Benson
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  7. OP
    OP
    dhansen

    dhansen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I'll need a bigger canoe to hold that lot! I'll take a look.
     

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