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Howe Fur Company Cooper Mills, Maine

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by Carolina Kayaks, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. Carolina Kayaks

    Carolina Kayaks New Member

    Hello, I have recently come across a very old 15 foot pine plank on rib canoe with a "Howe Fur Company" logo from Maine on the bow. The strips vary in width depending on the particular curve of the hull, I can see all kinds of daylight between many of them and was honestly afraid to put it on my roof rack and drive it back to the shop! But it is now safely here...

    I'd really like to restore the canoe over the winter months and guess I was wondering fristly, does anybody know about this company, is there some version of it still in Maine, do original plans for this design exist? I've done some research and think it was built in the
    20s or 30s but can't be sure. Also, what happens to the value or authenticity after I replace some of the strips, lay glass on the outside, replace the bronze and build new ash thwarts and seats etc etc...

    Any info would be appreciated... thanks for reading, david!
     
  2. yeolwoodsman

    yeolwoodsman Rolf Warncke

    I'll hazard to guess that the Howe Fur Company is the retailer, just like R.H. Macey's in New York was the retailer of one of my canoes. It would be most beneficial if you could post some pictures...the forum loves pictures. There are a lot of great people here that can help you identify your new treasure. As you no doubt will find there will be a lot of folks here that don't react well to the word "glass", and rightly so. Depending on the canoe that you have will largely determine the course of action that you follow to get it restored. If it was once covered with canvas you would be best to restore with canvas!

    Best of luck on the restoration and I look forward to seeing some pictures. This web site should come with a warning. Old canes can easily become an addiction;). You should proceed with caution.

    Rolf
     
  3. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    "You should proceed with caution."

    No way! Throw caution to the wind... This is way too much fun!
     
  4. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    The Howe canoes are a rare and mysterious! The brass name plate reads " Ed Howe, Maine Made Best, Howe Fur Co, Coopers Mills Me.". I have never seen the real canoe but only have pictures of one from a customer in Pittsburgh PA. He said that he had the original sales slip for the 14 ft canoe which indicated it was built in 1939.
    I tried to do a bit of research on Howe many years ago but couldn't find anything right away and never got back to it.
    In my pictures the deck is shaped much like a Rushton Indian Girl. In profile it looks much like a Gerrish river canoe. IN the pictures it looks to be a decent canoe and professional made.
    It would be a shame to fiberglass the hull. It would effect the "Historical" quality of the boat, but of course that would only be important to pinhead purest like myself, but it would not really effect the monetary value of the boat!
     
  5. Aschneid

    Aschneid Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Howe canoe

    My father has a Howe canoe and I haven't been able to locate much info about it. He purchased it back in 1983 at a shop (has original receipt of his purchase only)from the original owner who was 90yrs old. It has been kept indoors, is in great shape, original kneeler pads and oars. He lives in Pittsburgh and is considering selling, but doesn't know where to even begin. Pointers appreciated!!
     
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  7. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    There a lot of pinhead purists in the wooden canoe world.... Rollin was the one we all learned from to some degree!!
    That said, it your canoe and you can screw it up however you want......said a pinhead purest!
    I once said that " I do not walk away from fiberglassed canoes....I run.

    You can research the benefits of canvas vs glass in dozens of posts on this forum.
    Let me just say, that a glass locked canoe gives you few options to make proper repairs down the road.
     
  8. Aschneid

    Aschneid Curious about Wooden Canoes

    What we "know" of the Howe canoe my father purchased was it was marked "1930's". We believe it still has the original canvas and wooden ribs. I am hoping to get some photos later today and post them. His health is failing and I know it would be a great comfort to him to find someone to appreciate and care for this canoe as much as he has. I did find the above catalogues and links before posting here, just not much else. The history of the canoe since his purchase and any work he has done to it is documented. My father taught in the architecture department at Carnegie Mellon University. To call him a "woodworker" would be an understatement.
     
  9. Aschneid

    Aschneid Curious about Wooden Canoes

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