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Kennebec and Old Town model reference

Discussion in 'Scale and Miniature Canoe Models' started by Benson Gray, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. OP
    OP
    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It is cool and satisfying although the irony is that I was looking for something else at the time. My search for information about old deck decals was much less successful but I didn't feel so bad after finding this gem.

    Benson
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The two images below show another vintage model in the San Francisco's Weeks-Howe-Emerson display at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. This image came from F. W. Howe to Richard Ralph in 1975 and Al Bratton kindly gave it to me. A note on the back side of this photograph says "Received Gold Medal Expos for Exhibits. Had lake real water canoes on it. Mfrs bldg." I wonder if this is the model that set the early record at the Butterfield auction in San Francisco many years ago.

    Benson
     

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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  3. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    More great digging Benson! This is most interesting information from several perspectives, yet leaves us with many still unanswered questions:

    Unless eyes totally deceive me, that is a 4' OT model in the foreground of the photo with a larger canoe. Photo taken in 1915, yet the OT build records do not show any serial # issued to a 4' model until 1922, if my recent search was correct. This rather conclusively suggests that 4' OT 'samples' were being produced earlier than the build records imply. (It also adds to the photo of the child with the model OT canoe which is seen in your post # 7, above, from 1910.)

    Weeks-Howe-Emerson of San Francisco ordered at least four 'display' models that I am aware of, those being three 8' models and one 10' model, between March 1918 and Nov. 1919, according to OT records. Obviously, again, the real story may be greater than the apparent scope of the records.

    Three other 'samples' went to California in June 1925, to Dyas, in Los Angeles; two 8' models and one 4'. Both recipients seem to have been fairly major outlets for OT.

    Just a few more thoughts to puzzle over. Great photo.

    Roger
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  4. OP
    OP
    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I have done some more digging in the early Old Town company records and found additional references to sign canoes in the financial statements as shown below from 1907 to 1914. The note at the bottom of the 1907 one says "Included in Accounts Receivable are 26 Sign Canoes amount $255.00" and similar notes are included until 1914 when they have grown to be "97 Sign Canoes, amount $992.50" so it is not clear if they ever expected to actually get paid for these. There are no notes like this in the corresponding Carleton records from the same period. Unfortunately, this produces more questions than answers but does indicate that there were a significant number of "Sign Canoes" which grew over time.

    Benson
     

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  5. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Benson:

    Looks to me as if OT was evaluating these 'sign' canoes over the years at about $10 a piece for inventory purposes. The number was obviously growing, suggesting that they were not selling them but, rather, keeping them on the books as company assets. Could they have been 'loaned out' to retailers, with OT keeping ownership? Can one infer from the $10 valuation that these might have been 4' to 8' models, given that a full-size canoe would have sold for two or three times that much? Just letting my mind wander a bit; hopefully not too far astray.

    Greater significance seems to me to rest on the fact this is further evidence, along with the early photos and other inventory notes (see above), that OT made quite a few 'samples' that are undocumented in the build records themselves. This seems to be bringing us much closer to your original estimation that numbers of smaller OT 'display' canoes could run as high as 275-300, if OT's ratio of advertising models to full-size canoes was roughly equivalent to Kennebec. Perhaps we've come 'full circle', though with a far more detailed data base to rely upon.

    Input by others certainly welcomed.

    Roger
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The valuation of around $10 per canoe was a source of confusion to me as well. The list price of a typical full sized canoe at this time was about $30 so this does not appear to represent either the retail list price or even the wholesale price. It certainly confirms that there were more of them than have shown up in the build records but it is still not clear if these were all models.

    Benson
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I took another dive into the old records last night and found some new display canoe information to share.

    The first inventory reference has already been posted at http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=8929&d=1256433519 and is on page 7 which appears to be from October 3rd, 1905. A second one is shown below for five display canoes on page 78 and appears to be from September 30th, 1908. This differs from the financial records shown at http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=9212&d=1258645591 with a total of 30 so that implies that the 30 were presumably with dealers and not in the factory at that time. The third reference is shown below for 13 display canoes on page 228 and appears to be from January 1st, 1916. This is the most interesting one because it clearly identifies both Carleton and Old Town sign canoes in different lengths. The values are specified as $10 for a finished eight foot one and $5 for a regular one which is likely to have been about four feet long. The regular ones listed as "not colored" were valued at $4 each and probably lacked paint.

    Another interesting result of this search is that none of the form inventories like the one shown at http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=2360&d=1165465391 and http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=2361&d=1165465391 contained references to any display canoe forms. This implies that the forms were in the homes of the employees who probably built the display canoes on their own time and sold them to the company on a piece work basis like the hand caned seats.

    I also have reviewed the previous financial information with an accountant who agrees that the notes about display canoes "Included in Accounts Receivable" are very unusual. These notes were probably made to indicate that these were never going to be paid in the same way that a traditional balance sheet would often have a note below the accounts receivable line to specify an allowance for bad debts.

    Please reply here if you have other thoughts or interpretations of this information. Thanks,

    Benson
     

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  8. OP
    OP
    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Kennebec model postcard

    The Kennebec postcard image attached below may show a model canoe but it is probably just a touched up photograph. This pre-dates electronic image manipulation by many years.

    Benson
     

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  9. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Kennebec and Old Town model

    Looks like they did cut-and-paste the old fashioned way... with actual scissors!
     
  10. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Benson:
    Re your Kennebec model postcard, post # 28 ...

    how interesting that this is nearly a 'mirror image' of the Old Town advertising photo as shown in your post # 7, above. Wouldn't surprise me at all to find that it (Kennebec card) appeared the following year as a competitive advertising retort. It does look a bit more 'mechanically arranged' though, or cut-and-paste of the day.

    Neat stuff!

    Roger
     
  11. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    I thought it might be helpful to readers of this thread to 'round it out' with some photos of the sort of 'display' or 'sample' canoes we have been discussing above.

    Here, then, are photos of:

    two Kennebec models; the blue/red is 69" long, the red/green is 63" long (there is a third version 66"). They were largely intact structurally when found, but both had been poorly over-painted. Each was cleaned down and re-finished with an 'antique' appearance commensurate with its age. The blue canoe, originally plain, spent many years in the 'deep South' and now emulates a design from the 1924 catalog; the red/green canoe is painted differently on each side to give two versions or appearances in one. It is a faithful recreation of the original paint, including the lettering. Prior to restoration, it spent many years in California and the southwest, where it is reputed to have been a 'prop' in a couple of early (silent?) films.

    a 4' Old Town, in mint original condition, straight from an Adirondack lodge where it was hung shortly after its original purchase.

    a 42" Carleton in original paint, but with some structural repairs. The starboard gunwales had been badly broken (straightened and re-set), the rear seat and thwart were missing (replaced). After spending its early days on a Long Island, NY estate, it was for many years after that a childhood toy for two generations of a Connecticut family.

    Hope you enjoy.

    Roger
     

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  12. Robert P. Ross

    Robert P. Ross Ross Bros

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