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Perhaps a White?

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Mark Neuzil, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    To say somebody came up with a new feature just because they were in business first is silly. Morris may have been earlier to use this detail, but not because of this reason. However, Kennebec shows this feature in their first catalog of 1910. The earliest we can say for sure Morris did is 1911. And Carleton may have beat both to the punch...

    No, we don't know this. It has been speculated. It is one possible answer to the mystery of Kennebec canoes with splayed stems, but equally likely, barring further evidence, is that they were built in-house using Morris-like details.
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    This discussion about Kennebec canoes with Morris style stems got me thinking. Are there any known examples of canoes with a brass tag serial number on a flared cedar stem and a Kennebec name on the deck? It is possible that some of the canoes identified as a Morris may actually be a Kennebec. Kathy has kindly sent me a copy of her Morris serial number list so I can see if any of the numbers match the Kennebec records (when I get some free time).

  3. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Meanwhile, if anyone out there has a Morris/Kennebec hybrid, we should add your boat's information to the mix... thanks, everyone!
  4. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I have seen a Kennebec Charles River 1915 brass tag mounted on the stem of one of these canoes, but I have not seen a Morris serial number tag on a canoe otherwise marked as a Kennebec.
  5. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the clarification Dan about the Morris/Kennebec caps, etc. I was afraid to weigh in with either actual observations or personal opinions. I've seen people get trashed on these forums just for asking honest questions and I felt darned close when I questioned the scheme of making a full Morris build history out of two serial numbers. I guess some people just get more respect than others. In any case (hiding behind Dan) it seems there is a whole lot of speculation in all this. A good yarn can be good fun, but statements of fact ought to have some factual basis. I'm not throwing stones at anyone so please don't throw them at me. Just wishing we could have a frank discussion and either get at some facts or determine what info still needs to be found.
  6. mdouglass

    mdouglass Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here is a photo of the brass tag of the canoe I purchased. DSC00729.jpg
  7. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Dan-- I didn't see your post about 1910 Kennebecs--- anyway, I will post a video of a CONFIRMED 1910 Kennebec canoe with a Morris hull... I based my comment on "knowing" Kennebec got hulls from Morris on that particular canoe. But maybe they simply built it that way at the Kennebec factory. Here is the video:

    You can see the serial number on the boat and look it up in the Kennebec files and it comes up 1910.

    Now I will post a picture of a Morris open gunwale canoe in a 1908 Morris catalog... I based my comment about Morris having the treatment first on this. I suppose we don't know for certain that the catalog is truly a 1908 catalog, and I jumped to the conclusion that Morris did this before Kennebec. I knew there were other builders who used this short rail cap too and didn't mean to say that Morris invented it, only that they used it before Kennebec, and maybe that isn't true. What IS true is that using a short rail cap to identify a Kennebec doesn't work, because other companies used this treatment as a method I believe of getting the public accustomed to the open wale. I only meant to say the canoe in question appears to me to be a Morris, and not a Kennebec.

    Attached Files:

  8. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Sorry if you or anyone else felt attacked, H.E.-- I too know how that feels. When Denis and I began collecting information on Morris canoes, I felt we were up against a lot of disapproval, and all I ever wanted to do with this was to help people, because it's exciting to work with people who are excited about their canoes.

    I have hoped people knew the information we have collected belongs to the WCHA. If I seemed crabby or something, I am sorry if it appeared that way-- I have been excited about any new information and sometimes write too much about it. Sometimes misunderstandings happen on boards like this because people don't understand "tone" or whatever, or take things personally when nothing personal was intended.

    If anyone wants to take the Morris information that Denis and I have collected and continue the database project, that's fine with me... it isn't mine, it was just something I had the time and inspiration to do. Perhaps it's time to pass it along to someone else who can keep it up and maybe get a different perspective on it... maybe see something we missed.

    I perhaps jump to conclusions-- we physically examined a Kennebec with a 1910 build record and saw the splayed stem... I was unaware that it was believed they might simply have been built that way at the Kennebec factory, but it makes sense as the canoe appeared to be Kennebec in every other way. I made a video of this and posted it in this thread. As I posted the video a couple years ago, I thought it was documentation enough that there were Morris-type hulls on Kennebecs in 1910. I'm not being a smarty-pants here, but need to know what sort of documentation is needed to be able to say that.
  9. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I don't doubt that the Kennebec gates to 1910. The question is who built the hull, and so far, no one has provided any convincing evidence that Morris built these hulls and delivered them to Kennebec. It is possible, sure. But so is the possibility that a former Morris worker brought to Kennebec a style he was familiar with. Or that Morris sold Kennebec an extra form that they then used periodically. The point is, we don't know, and so one option should not be claimed to be a fact. How do you "know" Kennebec got that particular hull from Morris? Where is the documentation?

    Furthermore, it is my belief that the undated series of Morris catalogs, including the WCHA reprint, date to the 1912-1915 time period, and that dating of the reprint (and those on the Historic CD) were based on a lack of, and misinterpretation, of available information. The earliest we can say with any certainty that Morris published a catalog showing open gunwales with rail caps is 1911. Now, your database should be able to show open gunwales canoes with rail caps dated earlier than that, but as we've seen in the past few days, even these dates are moving targets.

    All this to say, lets separate fact from speculation. A lot of the latter is being treated as the former.

  10. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Splayed stem

    I am sorry if I am to blame for anyone feeling attacked. That was not my intent with bringing the splayed stem issue up, if that is the source of contention. I was only curious as to where the story of Morris supplying hulls to Kennebec came from. That is all. Like I said, I am just curious like the rest of you.

    My curiousity also stems (pardon the pun) from the fact that I noticed 22 cedar stems on the Kennebec ledger pages listed with a Kennebec canoe I saw in person with a splayed cedar stem. It just seems to me that we cannot use a splayed cedar stem alone to identify a Morris and maybe Kennebec was building their own canoes with splayed cedar stems for awhile.
  11. mdouglass

    mdouglass Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I was the buyer of this canoe.

    Here is a photo of the brass tag of the canoe I purchased. DSC00729.jpg

    Mark Douglass
  12. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Jet Ski's

    For anyone joining in for the first time, you should see how we treat folks that own Jet Skis or paddle aluminum canoes! Or folks that "row their canoes with oars":eek:

    It's all good...intentions are good....we are passionate about a history that is sometimes long on speculation and short on fact.
  13. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Hey Mark,

    Congrates on getting a great canoe, and please keep use posted with pics of your progress.
    We love to look at canoes and watch other folks restoration journey.

    And I'd invite you to joint the MN Chapter, we are a very loose group that tries to get these canoes on the water once in a while.
    And if you ever have any questions or want to look at another canoe, either post here or give me a holler. I'm in the Northern subs.

  14. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I hadn't heard the theory that a Morris form might have been used at Kennebec and it certainly makes as much if not more sense than Morris shipping hulls to Kennebec to refinish-- and what you pointed out, Fitz, seems to me to work with a theory that Kennebec built some canoes that way, straight from the factory.

    But for those who are wondering if their Morris is in fact a Morris, there are other identifying features to look at.

    We learn from each other here and it's important to hear anyone's thoughts about anything.

    The earliest Morris with open gunwales in the database is one of ours but it has long decks and no rail cap. Oh well...
  15. mdouglass

    mdouglass Curious about Wooden Canoes

    See the post, "Can you tell me about a Kennebec canoe".

    My 17 foot canoe (serial number 12416) is a B.N. Morris rather than a Kennebec. The same serial number under Kennebec records shows an 18 1/2 foot Maine Guide model.

    Thanks Dan.

    Thank you all for helping me in this matter.

    Mark Douglass
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  16. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    BTW Mark,

    While it might be a hard to see well, my Morris is 13050, not much newer then yours, it's also 17 ft.

  17. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Canoe Nut

    I just got back to this thread and didn't realize the fire storm I started.

    I will admit I never noticed that short rail cap on the open gunnel Morris from the catalog. I'm guilty of thinking that short rail cap on the open gunnel was a Kennebec "only" ID feature. Shame on me.

    Looks like some of us continue on the learning curve.

    Hopefully we can make the journey on that learning curve a happy one.


  18. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    No fire-storm really--- this is how we all learn, and it's hard to see that rail cap in the picture without knowing to look for it.

    I shall be forever grateful to you for noticing the Veazie keyhole deck and pointing out that your canoe had only two pairs of cant ribs!

  19. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Kathy and Fitz,

    Fitz- I just saw your post about the word "attacked"... don't worry, I never felt attacked, and I don't know how anyone could feel attacked by you! It's all good! And Kathy, you haven't sounded crabby at all- just excited, and that's a good thing! I've been following all this with my own excitement. Kathy and MGC and Benson are doing a great job of mining for information- it's great fun to see this develop. Maybe I shouldn't have referred to some other less than pleasant threads I've read. That reference had nothing to do with anything at all in these Morris threads.

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  20. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I think that we all need to be careful to clearly distinguish between opinions and facts. This is a mistake that I certainly have made occasionally. Fortunately there is usually someone here who will point out this type of error although the level of diplomacy in their response does tend to vary. Hopefully, we have not let it rise to an 'attack' or 'fire storm' since this is typically a fairly civil group.

    <Rant alert>

    It is amazing how quickly a suggestion can transition from an opinion to an apparent fact. Roger MacGregor said on page 272 of his 1999 book "When The Chestnut Was In Flower" that the Old Town Canoe Company may have named their HW model after a famous Canadian canoe designer named Henry K. Wicksteed. I have spoken with Roger about this and he freely admits that he has no documentation to support this idea. However, a quick Google search for the terms Henry Wicksteed HW Old Town Canoe will find 396 web pages and most of them claim that this is an established fact in just over ten years. Many of these cite Roger's book as proof. There are other theories about the source of this name which are more likely in my opinion but very little documentation exists so we may never know for sure.

    Short rail caps have been found on canoes from Kennebec, Morris, Skowhegan, Old Town, and many other builders so we may not ever know the logic behind these either.

    Please be sure to correct me if I ever make the mistake of offering an undocumented opinion as a fact here again. Thanks,

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011

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