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

Old Town canoe

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by cjnovak, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. cjnovak

    cjnovak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    My family's Old Town canoe is serial # 125838-16, a 16' red wooden canoe. Can you look up the original bill of sale? Possibly it's made out to Edward (EJ) Conlon. Thanks!
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Old Town Canoe Company's bills of sale have not been preserved but their build records have some of the same information and those are available. Their canoe with serial number 125838 is a 16 foot long, CS (Common Sense or middle) grade, Otca model with open spruce gunwales, birch decks, birch thwarts, birch seats, oval outside finish rails, a keel, and a bob stay painter ring on the bow. It was built between November, 1938 and February, 1939. The original exterior paint color was bright red. It was shipped on March 9th, 1939 to Chicago, Illinois. A scan showing this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

    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 http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ 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 http://www.wcha.org/about-the-wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA and http://store.wcha.org/WCHA-New-Membership.html to join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description don't match the canoe. This one shipped to a dealer who probably sold it to Mr. Conlon. A similar canoe is shown at http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?10404 which shipped on the same order. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

    Benson
     

    Attached Files:

  3. OP
    OP
    cjnovak

    cjnovak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson, that was FAST, and thank you very much! The description matches perfectly; as my grandfather (EJ Conlon) lived in Park Ridge IL and worked in Chicago, it makes sense that he'd use a Chicago-based dealer. Looking at the various descriptions, I'd already settled on the Octa model. Next step is restoring the decals; I found these in the wcha.org store, and think I need this one for the bow deck...
    http://store.wcha.org/Old-Town-Decal-1906-1954.html

    and 2 of these for the original paddles...
    http://store.wcha.org/Old-Town-Paddle-and-or-Seat-back-decal-black-and-gold-Peel-Off-Decal.html

    Thanks again for your assistance.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    You are most welcome. That deck decal is the correct one for that era but it is less clear if that style of paddle decal was still being used in the late 1930s. The messages at http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?2955 have more information on this topic. Good luck with the rest of the project.

    Benson
     
  5. OP
    OP
    cjnovak

    cjnovak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    V l & a

    FYI, when I showed my 87-year old (3/30/26) Mom the Old Town Build Record showing that it shipped to "Von Lengerke & Antoine" in Chicago, she immediately replied (long-term memories are intact!) "Yes, V L & A is where we bought the canoe". I did some research on V L & A, and found that they'd been acquired by Abercrombie & Fitch in 1928, who kept using the V L & A 'brand name' until about 1960.
    http://www.vintagegunleather.com/company-marks/vonlengerke_history.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Abercrombie_%26_Fitch

    Most fun is THIS link... http://thevintagetraveler.wordpress.com/tag/von-lengerke-antoine/ ...for a Spring 1939 ad from Von Lengerke & Antoine titled "The Time of Your Life Begins Here", and featuring a full page drawing including a RED Old Town canoe. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the ad my grandfather saw which motivated him to go to VL&A & purchase #125838 which Old Town had shipped to VL&A March 9, 1939!

    1939 VL&A Time of your life ad featuring a red Old Town canoe.JPG

    The ad clearly shows the use of "VL&A" in a stylized format:
    vl&a.JPG
     
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

  7. OP
    OP
    cjnovak

    cjnovak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson, I've sent a query 'up north Wisconsin' to the current crew at the cabin to check for a tag or nail hole. Would these be mounted on the top of the deck, or on the inner face (facing the interior)? Based on the photo...
    Old Town and VL&A Brass Canoe Tags.jpg
    ...it appears these are collectibles. If I find 2 or 4 nail holes, where might I acquire a replacement brass tag to properly 'dress' our canoe?

    By the way, great pic of the paddles. I seem to recall the one on the left...
    Old Town canoe paddles.jpg
    ...as being most like what we had -- and I've circulated the photo to my family to jog THEIR memories! I think the original paddles were replaced long ago with larger 'modern' models, but who knows what might be in the attic? !
     

    Attached Files:

  8. OP
    OP
    cjnovak

    cjnovak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    PS - Previous was a high resolution pic of our 1939 16' Otca CS with its new WHCA decals in place (not historically accurate, but I put decals on BOTH fore & aft decks).

    The rest are pics of son Jeff (red shirt) & his friend Matt portaging the red canoe 50 yards through the forest, then another 100 yards down our pier (to 30" deep water) to launch it (nothing like having some strong 20-somethings around!).
    Portage 3.JPG Launching.JPG Heading out into the lake.JPG
    The 100-yard pier is over a backflooded 'swamp' from a 1910 8' dam, and today its a beautiful wetland teeming with fish, ducks, geese, blue herons, and a pair of nesting bald eagles with young eaglets this year. Google Maplink, turn on satellite and photos -- it's the longest pier there: http://goo.gl/h0IvWU
     
  9. OP
    OP
    cjnovak

    cjnovak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson, 2 questions: a) Where would a VL&A tag or Old Town tag be usually located (to help us look for nail holes) - on top of the deck, near the serial number on the keel? b) Any chance of my finding a spare VL&A tag or Old Town tag to ADD to my family's canoe? c) If spare tags can't be found, I'd consider having a replica made -- and would be glad to get a quote on multiple replicas for WHCA to sell along with decals. Do you know the exact dimensions of these original tags? Here is a possible replica maker: http://www.naptags.com/brblentana.html?gclid=CNvs2oHigLkCFSJqMgodrQoAYw
     
  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I've never seen either one of these two tags on a canoe so I don't know exactly where they would have been placed. My guess is that the decks or center of the deck combing would be the most common locations and that on the inside stems would be a much less likely area. I don't know of any available spare tags but similar things have shown up on eBay and elsewhere in the past. I would be happy to help you get some replicas made and can provide high resolution scans for this purpose. I just spoke to naptags.com at 800-451-3330 and they confirmed their ability to work from scans. There may not be enough demand to justify selling these through the WCHA store. I can get the exact dimensions this evening. Contact me at benson@maine.rr.com if you want to proceed and we can work out the details. Thanks,

    Benson
     
  11. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Vl&a

    Attached is a picture of the VL&A decal on my 1918 OT HW, before the next attempt to get the paint off completely destroyed it. Not as classy as a brass plate, but ... oh well.

    It was 1" diameter.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. OP
    OP
    cjnovak

    cjnovak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Funny, I got a response from my email to them: "We can not do what you want, try Plaquemaker.com, they may. Good luck, Nap tags.com, Tags-We're It!". You must have been speaking to someone else! Yes, I would like the dimensions. I will pursue via email, thanks!
     
  13. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Yeah, that outfit didn't look like they could/would do what you want. Here's the place you want... They're excellent, well-used by restorers of cars, boats, planes, etc., but not cheap:

    http://www.nostalgicreflections.com/

    Another alternative is to make your own. Learn about brass etching and you'll find that it's doable at home with with a little careful chemistry.
     
  14. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The attached letter gives a better answer to your question and confirms that it was "in the top of the bow deck" in this case.

    Benson
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page