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Sailing canoe possibly Thames built can anyone clarify who made her?

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by alick burt, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thank you guys those tags look interesting I will have to take another look and some measurements of the ghost mark under the deck.Do either of you have the length and width of the tags to hand and were they always made to the same sizes?The shape of the oval was I think quite regular more like the Herald one but I will check.
    Thanks Again
    Alick
     
  2. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Folks
    I measured the tag mark today.The plate was 1/58ths"long by 7/16ths wide with holes 1 1/8th centre to centre if that helps!
    Many Thanks
    Alick
     
  3. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Hi Alick:
    I hope you are closing in on identifying your canoe, possibly through the thwart tag. Looks to me that there may be some connection to Rice Lake, possibly through Herald Bros., but Dick P. and others can certainly help you more in that vein than I. The words "Rice Lake", as commented on above, obviously take on a different context for different folks. Some of us comprehend it more broadly as a geographic description; others like to limit it only to the registered trade name affiliation. The comment was raised:

    "Some people may generically call all of these Rice Lake canoes, but Rice Lake is the trade name of only one, started in 1899."

    Rice Lake is a body of water, to the south and east of Peterborough, Ontario. In the early days of canoe-building in Ontario, watercraft from the area were often generally described as "Rice Lake canoes". The main builder of them was Daniel Herald. Other canoes built in nearby Lakefield and Peterborough, similarly often got lumped in generically as being "Lakefield" types, or "Peterborough" types. Often, when these things got to foreign shores, they were simply referred to as "Canadian Canoes", no matter who exactly made them. This is why I made the point earlier about 'lineage' as well as trade names. Trade names came along later, often taking advantage of what the general public were already doing - using geographic location names to identify or differentiate between canoes.

    When Rice Lake Canoe Co. incorporated under that name in 1899, it was simply an effort by Herald Bros. to use the moniker that most folks already called their canoes - Rice Lake canoes - and had been doing so almost since their father, Dan, began building in 1862. Indeed, as Dick Persson pointed out, it was the same moulds, the same workmen, the same products built in the same place for almost 40 years. Locals used the term "Rice Lake canoe" as an easy way to distinguish Herald's work from the Lakefield crowd, and the Peterborough builders. In changing the company name, the brothers simply capitalized on established name recognition. This is documented by canoe historian and noted authority, Roger MacGregor. Others did the same: Gordon and Strickland became "Lakefield Canoe & Manufacturing Co.", before undergoing four more revisions to that corporate name, all including the place name "Lakefield". That did not make any of their products less or anything other than a Lakefield canoe. In Peterborough, PCC arose from the ashes of Ontario Canoe Co., and became known far and wide for its products. Although it began in 1893, using the corporate name "Peterborough Canoe Co.", it did not get around to registering a trade mark until 1911, 18 years later. And, when it did so, it was NOT the name Peterborough Canoe Co. which was trade marked, nor was it even the oval shaped decal with red center and gold belt surround. What was registered were the three simple words... "The Peterborough Canoe". The company protected for itself the geographic origin name commonly in public use. It seems that generic inclusion and reference was rampant everywhere.

    So, besides trade name, incorporated or otherwise, when looking for origins of things, I believe it best not to restrict a search by focusing on trade names, but to look to lineage and geography. Such was the reason behind my original comment. And living as I now do, on the shores of Rice Lake, across from where Dan Herald began the Rice Lake canoe-building tradition, I have begun to appreciate why locals take pride in generically referring to things originating here... to distinguish us, of course, from inferior things made elsewhere.

    I hope you manage to trace your great old canoe to its builder, whether it turns out to be from here or not.
     
  4. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Not to be combative here, I assure you, but it seemed that Alick was looking specifically for the builder of his canoe, at least for now. He first wrote "I know this is a long shot without removing all the paint but I was wondering if anyone can identify this wide board and batten canoe", followed up by "if anyone can help identify the maker". Roger Young even followed up with "possibly Peterborough or Rice Lake? maybe Lakefield?" Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but Lakefield is a maker, not a region or lineage.

    Alick - I do hope you identify the maker and then go on to enjoy learning about this history of your canoe, it's builder, and the other builders in that family and geographic region. There is much of interest in the history of Canadian small boatbuilding. Truly fascinating stuff, which is why Mr. Young, Mr. Persson, myself and many others find it so fascinating. Yours looks to be an early canoe; it's surely got an interesting history and lineage.

    As for your tags (the ghost of a thwart tag), I was referring to the imprint of a tag with straight top and bottom and rounded ends, shown in the 4th photo of post #14 - the one right below the polished brass rectangle (the thick rectangle is certainly a replacement for what was there originally). I just measured a Peterborough tag (Peterborough the company, not the region or lineage) - it is 2 5/8" long x 3/4" high, with center-to-center distance between the screw holes 1 1/2". Hope this helps.
     
  5. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    [I"]Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but Lakefield is a maker, not a region or lineage."[/I]

    I'm sorry, but I do think of Lakefield as a lineage, not a single maker. How else does one describe an operation that carried on business under a succession of names: 1904-11 Lakefield Canoe & Manufacturing Co; 1911-19 Lakefield Canoe Co. Ltd.; 1919-38 Lakefield Canoe & Boat Co. Ltd.; 1939-48 Lakefield Boat & Manufacturing Co.; 1948-62 Lakefield Boats Ltd.; and then becomes Rilco Industries from 1962-67? And, it is a geographic municipal area (region) out of which many years ago canoe-making pioneers such as Thomas Gordon and Robert Strickland began as individuals, later coming together as the first of the "Lakefield" companies. So, when one says "Lakefield" around these parts, it is often in general or generic reference to a watercraft which cannot easily be immediately (or maybe ever) pinned down to a specific date or identifiable craftsman.

    Thus, one can have a canoe generically, even regionally, described as "a Lakefield". Then, if a trade name thwart tag is found, you can pin it down to a date, thus telling you when and by which, in the lineage of "Lakefield" canoes, it was made.

    I'm also not wishing to be combattive; just commencing with a generalist approach, trying to assess overall design characteristics which might provide a tip toward geographical area and/or historical lineage. Maybe, once that's done, a clue such as a thwart tag will lead to placing it within a time frame and, possibly, put an identifiable maker's name to it. We're all after the same end - trying to help - not to quarrel over method.

    However, sometimes it isn't possible to get much further than a 'generic' answer. I recall a very interesting canoe I was recently asked to appraise for donation to the Canadian Canoe Museum. It is a late-1800's rowing/sailing canoe made of butternut strips and elm ribs, seemingly of "Lakefield area" origin. It was even probably built on an early form also used for other Lakefield Co. canoes, though cut down somewhat to lower its profile. But, where to place it historically in the long succession of canoe-building in that area or by that firm was the intriguing question? After consultation with the Museum's own experts and, taking into consideration all of the donor family's historical provenance, the best we could come up with was to suggest that it had a "Gordon/Strickland/Lakefield" origin. So, it wound up with a rather generic, area-related possible source.

    Whether anyone can get closer to a definitive source in Alick's situation remains to be seen. At least we appear to have shifted the likely geographic origin from the Thames River (as originally thought) to south central Ontario, and possibly to Rice Lake (the area). Now, if the thwart tag bears out, the proper id may be able to be narrowed to a time in which a particular corporate entity was operating.

    We are all walking along the same path, perhaps just focusing in different ways. And all having great fun, I trust.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  6. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Roger
    Yes it is all fascinating and both me and my customer are thoroughly enjoying the detection process.He came to visit today and we are going to clear glass it so all the history of its knocks, bangs and repairs will still be visible warts and all.He intends to use it a lot so just a paint or varnish job although technically closer to original would be more difficult to maintain and would mean he would have to be really careful with it.
    Many Thanks
    Alick
     
  7. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thank you
    That's interesting all the tag marks I have seen have been far smaller.I will be taking the brass plates off again tomorrow for glassing (in clear, her owner will be giving her lots of use!) so will have another look at those ones.
    Cheers
    Alick
     
  8. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Folks
    I glassed her today and as it was a long day I didn't get the chance to check the tag marks again but will do tomorrow as they are now preserved for all to see under the new clear resin (until I cover them again with the brass plates).
    Here are some pictures of today's work.
    cloth in position.
    [​IMG]

    After initial wet out.
    [​IMG]
    After first fill coat.
    [​IMG]
    Second fill coat
    [​IMG]
    close up on Bow.
    [​IMG]
    complete.
    [​IMG]

    An improvement on the old coating I removed!
    Cheers
    Alick
     
  9. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Folks
    Today I met up with her owner at Rutland Water for the relaunch and took a few pictures.
    set up and ready for the water.
    [​IMG]
    On the water
    [​IMG]
    One happy client.
    [​IMG]
    and away she goes!
    [​IMG]
    Cheers
    Alick
     
  10. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    This is a rather belated reply to this thread, but I only just now came into possession of an early (pre-1920) Rice Lake Canoe Co. (Gore's landing) thwart tag, so thought I should add it to the discussion. This one is quite 'oval-shaped', so does not match the 'ghost' shown in Alick's photo above. Nor does it appear the same as the later Rice lake tag shown in Dick Persson's photo, when things shifted to Cobourg. This measures 2-29/32nds" (74mm) in length by 1-1/16th" (26mm) high. Photo below.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Alick:
    You should have a look at thread http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?14156-Strickland-Canoe&p=71529#post71529 just posted by your countryman, mw-fox, who has written about an early Strickland canoe he has just acquired. You're both in Britain, you both have very early boats, and very likely both of them originated in the Lakefield, Ontario, area. Dick Persson strongly felt that yours could be a Strickland. The one in Tiverton bears a Strickland thwart tag. You might want to compare that tag to the ghost from your boat. See pics below. The canoes themselves are different: wide-board vs. strip, but give rise to interesting parallels, at least in my mind.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. mw-fox

    mw-fox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Alick,
    Roger is correct, I have just taken ownership of an all wood canoe similar to the one you repaired last year. I plan to restore this canoe, but wanted to start exploring the history before I find time to knuckle down to the paint and FG stripping, so over the weekend I removed a small section of fibreglass and paint from one of the tags, which revealed the name 'Strickland & Co'. The outline/ghost of your clients canoe tag does indeed look similar to that on my canoe, so perhaps it could help to narrow the mystery surrounding the boat you worked on.

    As a bit of history to my boat, I purchased it from someone who's grandfather brought it back from Canada between the two world wars. It first came to Scotland before making its way down south to Wiltshire where it was stored for over 30 years prior to my arrival!

    Anyway, it was interesting to read the thread of your canoe repair. Perhaps the two might meet one day...

    Matt
     
  13. David Moore

    David Moore New Member

    As I read the above posts,I realized that my Lakefield sailing canoe serial or model number could be under the brass plates.As it is a Lakefield boat and manufacturing vintage ,that is 1939 to 1948, hopefully not sanded off ,I can add more detail.
    Many thanks ,
    David
     

    Attached Files:

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