A lot has been discussed lately (again) about dating B.N. Morris canoes based upon serial numbers. Here is a summary of years of discussion along with some additional thoughts: The issue of dating Morris canoes is far from solved, and I predict that (unfortunately) it never will be without actual sales receipts or some other records from the long-ago burned Morris factory. It was originally thought (guessed?) that Morris serial numbers included the last two digits of the year of manufacture as the first two digits of the serial number. Almost as fast as this theory was published, it was retracted (see Wooden Canoe numbers 21, 22 and 27). Jeff and Jill Dean then developed a modified theory of dating Morris canoes, but even that is far from proven. It is unclear why either of these theories is still held to be accurate. It has also been suggested that the last two digits represent the last two digits of the year built, but clearly this is not the case- existing serial numbers ending in 60s, 70s and 80s, for example, were certainly not built by Morris. Compounding the confusion was the recent discovery of Morris records among Old Town’s files. See information compiled by Benson Gray at: www.wcha.org/catalogs/morris/records/index.html At least some of these were canoes that were partially built by Morris, but completed at the Old Town factory after the Morris factory burned. Serial numbers on these canoes range from 69 to 17263. During 1921 and 1922, the Morris canoes shipped by Old Town had serial numbers from the 14,000s to the 17,000s. If it is assumed that these serial numbers were assigned by Morris and these canoes were partially built in the Morris factory, then they would have been shipped by Morris in 1920 or later (if the catastophic fire had not occurred). Therefore, these canoes all have serial numbers in which the first two digits neither match the year of shipment, nor correlate with the year of shipment in any predictable way. It seems apparent that at least by the late teens, serial numbers had little to do with year of manufacture/shipment. Thus, there can be no way to accurately predict when a canoe was built if, for example, both numbers 12002 and 17263 were still in the factory in 1920. Other canoes in this 25 record set have 5-digit serial numbers as high as 16252, 4 digit serial numbers as low as 1866, and even one serial number of 69. This lowest numbered canoe was shipped in 1949, which indicates that either (1) Old Town (and Morris, for that matter) held on to some Morris canoes for many years before completing them, or (2) some of the Old Town Morris canoes were built starting after the Morris fire (but why would Old Town assign them a particular serial number more in the Morris- not Old Town- range, especially one like “69”?). Morris also collaborated with Kennebec after the fire (this has been discussed at length by Dan Miller), and it is possible that some of the canoes surviving the fire ended up in the Kennebec factory. If so, it is completely unknown when or if these were shipped or with what serial numbers. Finally, it is unclear whether Morris always used serial numbers; in fact, I would argue that he did not. I personally have two Morris canoes (both with Morris decals) that lack serial numbers. There is no plate on either canoe, either on the stem or inwale, and there is no evidence that one ever existed (no escutcheon pin holes). Both of these canoes have little stem recurve (stems are almost plumb), and this shape has been attributed to earlier Morris canoes; canoes with more recurve in the stems are thought by some to be from later years. Thus while it is unclear when Morris began using serial numbers, it is likely that his earliest canoes are un-numbered, and that the serial numbers of numbered canoes do not correspond in any predictable way with year of production.