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

Old Town Otca - HELP!

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Brooklyn Dave, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    So- I'm new here. I know a little, I want to learn more.
    I have a 15ft Otca
    s/n: 152461
    I want to find the build sheet- how you do that?
    It's about 75% restored including new canvas.

    Thanks for any and all help!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2012
  2. normsims

    normsims Morris canoe fan

    You might want to check that serial number again. 152461 was a 17-foot HW model from 1949. Sometimes a little water on a cloth will clear it up, and a light shined sideways often helps. There should be two digits following the number that coincide with the length.

  3. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you Norm. I'll do that tomorrow.
    I know its 15'.
    I THINK it's an Otca because a friend who is "old and wise" and knows a lot about wood and canvas canoes said it was. Doesn't mean he was correct.
    How is an O.T. serial # supposed to look, so I know how many digits and dashes to look for. Stamping is kinda light on some of the digits.
    Maybe give me a random # example -EG: 12345-67 xyz
    If you could, please take a look at the craigslist posting and let me know what you think it could be from the pictures (such as they are).
    I'm going to go change the posting so it doesn't mislead anyone...
    Thank you!
  4. normsims

    normsims Morris canoe fan

    An Old Town serial number usually has five or six digits, then a space, followed by two digits that indicate its length. For example, 153248 14 was a 14-foot square stern built in 1949. The numbers increase through time, as you might expect, with lower numbers indicating older canoes. Numbers were stamped on both ends on the interior stems. If one end is difficult to read, try the other.

    I don't know where your craigslist ad is located. Email me at sims at and I'll take a look.

  5. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I didn't realize the numbers were on BOTH ends. I'll try the other end.Maybe have better luck.
    AND... I guess you can't post a link to a craigslist add on this site... I thought I did and didn't notice it wasn't there.
    ...hmm, why would they let me tout my craigslist add when they have a classified section here?

    - DOH!
  6. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    It's unlikely your canoe is the Otca model if it is 15 feet long-- most likely it is a 50 pounder, or if it is an Otca it's at least 16 feet.

    Prior to 1957, the Otca had a longer deck with coaming and not "the usual" Old Town deck, which is an ogee shape. For this reason, the older Otca model is easy to spot.

    In addition to Norm's advice, here's a video on the Old Town serial number and how to find it on a canoe found upside-down in a barn, complete with a bird's nest:


  7. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Dave-- Greg Nolan, who paddles these waters regularly, also lives in Brooklyn-- if you're talking about the Brooklyn in NY.
  8. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Is there another Brooklyn?! OH YEAH- a couple here and there... that one in CT is a pretty little place, the even got a prison - but it ain't "Da' House uh D"!
    ... born in Brookdale Hospital, 1092 Bushwick Ave until I was 6, Raised in Flatbush, Lived in Bensonhurst, The Slope and Bay Ridge.
    Midwood HS '73.
    Worked for the Board of Ed most of my life until '97 (custodial maintenance end) (a CITY JOB, and he left it! DOH!, wht wuz I tinkin'!?!?)
    ...Yeah, I'm from Brooklyn, you gotta problem wit dat?! ;-)
  9. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    ...Have you ever paddled the Gownus?
    I hear it's LOVELY!
  10. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you Kathy, more to all tomorrow night.
  11. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Please pass my "Brooklynese" posts on to Greg Nolan, especially the one about paddling the Gowanus (a truly unique body of water!).
    I have lame moments on computers, I thought it was going to my Brother Brooklynite.
  12. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Again-- welcome!
  13. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Dave --

    Not a born and bred Brooklynite, but I've been here for more than40 years. I have not paddled the Gowanus Canal, though I live just a couple of blocks from it; we walk around the neighborhoods quite a bit, and often cross the canal:

    sm s 100_5766.jpg

    But I have canoed the Bronx River a number of times with interns from my office, (portage around the Lorillard snuff mill, see the Bronx zoo bison at water's edge, cross the waste retention boom, and out into the East River and Hell Gate across from LaGuardia Airport and Rikers Island jail); I have paddled in Mill Basin and Jamaica Bay, and have been on the waters of the harbor and the East, Hudson, and Raritan rivers in a variety of boats, but not in a canoe.

    I don't keep a canoe in the city -- though I have had one or two for short times as they were passing through -- too difficult to do what Deborah calls urban portaging:

    sm Copy of 100_4231.JPG 100_4230.jpg sm Copy of 100_4222.JPG sm Copy of 100_4224.JPG

    This is a restoration project UFO I picked up in Pennsylvania -- too long a drive to get it to Maine in one day, so it spent a couple of nights in our Park Slope back yard. Can't keep the canoe on the street where the car is always parked, of course, and can't get it through the house at ground level, so it's up the stoop to the 2d floor, into the parlor window, through the house and out the kitchen window and down the stairs to the back yard. Then reverse the process to get the canoe out -- and this canoe weighs something over 90 pounds. Most of Brooklyn is not at all canoe-friendly (though I did see a Grumman in a Cobble Hill front yard for a while):

    sm cr Copy of 100_4103.JPG

    In the NYC Craigs list I didn't see a listing for anything that sounded like your canoe -- send me a private message with the Craigs list link.
  14. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I still have not gone out to get the COMPLETE serial number. I made a mistake when I first posted the #.
    What I have is 15624. I don't see any other numbers after that with or without a space.
    I'll check the other end and get out a good light and all that stuff. But not today, wet sloppy snow in the yard and generally icky outside today.
    I'm fairly sure it's 15'. To measure correctly you measure from the most extreme point of the canoe, like so:
    here -> (________) <-to here
    NOT from the pints where the bow and stern curve back in, correct?
  15. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Well, serial numbers 15624 and 115624 don't show a 15 foot long canoe in the Old Town, Carleton, or Kennebec records so you may want to take your camera along as well so you can show us the numbers that you find. The length is from the most extreme points of the canoe and not from the tips as you have described. Let us know what you find.

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  16. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Correct -- length is measured from the extreme ends of the canoe -- between the red lines in the photos:

    length - lines .jpg OT 50 pounder


    length - lines.jpg Steve Cayard birch bark
  17. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you to all for you help and advice.
    I will find the correct numbers and let you all know.
    Also will measure length (correctly as well as accurately!).
    ...Hopefully tomorrow.
    B'klyn D.
  18. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    If it's an Old Town, the length will be on the stem after the serial number.
  19. OP
    Brooklyn Dave

    Brooklyn Dave Curious about Wooden Canoes

    OK folks- the number is.......
    152461 17
    --No doubt in my mind about it.
    I'll probably have pictures up later on tonight.
    Got to dump them out of the camera, get the camera back to my friend and head off to my meeting (The Friends of Bill W.).
  20. normsims

    normsims Morris canoe fan


    By email I heard that your serial number is 152461 17. That boat is a 17-foot AA (or top) quality HW model that was built in 1949 and shipped to Jordan Marsh department store in Boston. It had open mahogany gunwales, a keel, outside stems, a floor rack, and rub rails. Its original color was design #45. I can't find my disk with the Old Town catalogs right now, but perhaps another person can copy the image of design #45 for you.

    The scan of this build 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 and anyone else reading this will join or renew membership in the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to renew.

    If you are selling your canoe and plan to use this build record information as part of an ad, please consider giving the WCHA credit for this information on eBay or craigslist or wherever your canoe is listed.

    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:

Share This Page