Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Difficult to read

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by H.E. Pennypacker, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Could someone take a stab at this please? Photo attached. The "17" is clear and the middle three all look like "6". Maybe:


    Canoe looks like maybe an OT Molitor from the early days. No pics of the whole canoe yet.

    Attached Files:

  2. BCam

    BCam Curious about Wooden Canoes

    My guess is 46665. I converted your photo to B&W and adjusted things a bit.

    x666x (1).jpg
  3. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I will post info on the ones I've looked up so far in case someone else is looking at the same time, so we don't duplicate efforts.

    If the canoe is a Molitor model, it would date from the 1920s... but I'll assume it's a long-decked canoe and will only post the records for the ones likely to match. For instance, 46664 is a 15 foot CS grade 50# model (1918), which probably isn't your boat.

    46665 is a 17' AA grade Charles River with dbl gunwales
    16605 is a 16' CS grade CR (1911)

    will keep looking...
  4. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    A few more... these canoes seem very similar; all would have the short "ogee" deck... I can post all the build records later tomorrow unless you say that none seems right.

    46604 17' CS CR 1918
    46667 17' CS HW 1917
    46607 17' CS HW 1917
    16667 16' CS HW 1911
    16607 16' CS CR 1911
    16661 16' CS CR 1911
    16601 18' CS CR 1911

    The "original" OT Molitor was 18' long, had 36" bow deck, 24" stern deck, and was AA grade... they are c. 1920s... so what I'm shooting for is a canoe of AA grade with long decks and 17-18 foot length.
  5. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I went through all the 4666s... these are the remaining ones:

    46660 17' CS Otca
    46661 17' AA Otca <--- closest one so far
    46662 15' CS 50#
    46663 17' CS HW
    46664 15' CS 50#
    46666 18' CS HW
    46668 18' GS IF
    46669 17' CS HW

    Attached Files:

  6. OP
    H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Kathy- thank you so much for all the searching, and BCam- thanks for the photo edit. Frustrating situation- looks like someone purposefully obscured the serial number at each end (stolen?!). Decks are 24" stern, 36" bow. All mahogany trim. Combination of bunged countersunk bolts and diamond heads (latter are fewer, so I think diamonds were added later). Open gunwales. Looks like maybe sailing rig originally (OT gudgeons mounted as from factory, and imprint of what looks like a mast step). Wish I could get pics.

    Attached is a build record that shows a 17' Molitor. The "17" on the canoe in question is very clear, and the whole canoe measures a little over 17'. What about stems? If you cut these in cross section they're not a trapezoid- the sides kind of bow out, so the cross section would be sort of oval.

    Again- thanks for the help. Sure would be nice to know what this thing is.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  7. BCam

    BCam Curious about Wooden Canoes

    You might want to try photographing each number in close-up, assuming your camera can focus that close, with some side lighting, which will enhance the texture. Also, if you post them at the highest resolution possible, I think I can bring out more of the underlying detail. I don't think they've been purposely defaced, it just looks like age, varnish and a not so good original imprint.

    If you can't get a close-up, at least try the side lighting and higher resolution.
  8. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    The original model that Old Town called "Molitor" appears in build records ranging from 65XXX to 94XXX (roughly) if this helps at all... but Old Town could have built a canoe and used the 36/24 deck lengths and not called it a Molitor.
  9. OP
    H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks again for the advice and help, Kathy and BCam . The stem profile is (to me) strange- not at all like the typical OT "circle", not so recurved as the modern Molitor, from what I see in photos not even as recurved as the old Molitors, and certainly not a Morris profile. I've gotta get some pics! About the possible defacement, the stems are clean and smooth with nice varnish... everywhere but at the serial numbers (not the "17", just the 5-digit part). There, the varnish is pretty much gone and there seem to be gouges over and around the digits. Even so, more looking may help. I need to get this thing, take the decks off and seats out to get better access. More soon. Hopefully all this will result in something interesting!
  10. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    This sort of mystery is fun to sort out-- especially if we end up finding the record!

    I'll attach the image of a Morris Molitor-- the original OT Molitors had a similar profile.

    Attached Files:

  11. OP
    H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Another try...

    Okay, with thanks to the intrepid data miners out there, here goes another try. The reason that the serial number looked defaced and the reason it's so hard to read is that there appear to be TWO serial numbers, one stamped on top of the other!

    Perhaps it would be wise to check both OT and Carleton records. Could it have been started as OT and then renumbered and sold as Carelton, or vice-versa?

    The number I've been trying to post now looks more clearly like 1666x5 17. The 4th position seems to have a curve at the top pf the digit, so maybe 0, 2, 3, 6, 8 or 9. And I'm not at all positive about the 5th digit.

    The OTHER serial number looks like 694x4. There's a hint of a long-ish straight line a the top of the 4th position, which may mean 5 or 7.

    See attached photos. The "166x5" (if that's what it is) seems to be a sharp, deep stamp right in the middle of the stem. The other number is lower on the stem (more toward the edge), and seems to be made with a wider-font stamp. Note that the length ("17") is put on with the wider-font stamp, so I think the "694x4" was original and was over-stamped with "166x5". According to the OT chart, "69xxx" would be around 1922 and "16xxx" would be around 1912. When would a "16xxx" Carleton have been produced? Maybe in the early 20s?

    More info- mahogany inwales, outwales, thwarts, seats. Set up for sailing. OT-style gudgeons installed the way OT did. No half ribs, but there was a floor rack. Outside stems. Open gunwales. Bolts of steel, countersunk and bunged. Looks like white cedar ribs and red cedar planking. Outside stems oval in cross section. Decks and kingplanks put on with tiny nails- not screws. Coamings put on with oval-head screws, as typical for OT.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  12. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Ah-Ha! Good suggestion to check in the Carletons!

    Carleton 16605 is a 17 foot AA (top) grade Indian Princess model "Molitor Style" canoe--36" bow decks, 24" stern decks, with open mahogany gunwales, keel, outside stems, floor rack and a 5" thwart replacing the bow seat. It was originally black with a 1/2" gold stripe with turned down ends. It was shipped to South Akron, Ohio, on April 29, 1922. Image of the scan of this record is attached below-- click on it to get a larger image.

    This scan and several hundred thousand others were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details. I hope that you will join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

    Attached Files:

  13. OP
    H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    As Charlie Brown said to Lucy when she diagnosed him with pantophobia (the fear of everything): "THAT'S IT!!!" Thanks Kathy. You're the best!

    When I realized there were two serial numbers and both seemed to be from the early 1920s, it suddenly occurred to me that the lower number might be a Carleton. Thanks very much! A challenging journey makes the destination that much sweeter!
  14. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Agreed! I love these hunts, especially when we find the buried treasure!

Share This Page