1940's Thompson Canoe


New Member
I just purchased my first wooden canoe with canvas covering, I'm told it is a 1940's Thompson. It has been in storage. Any helpful hints for its care and maintainence would be greatly appreciated, as would any comments on caring for the canvas, or how I could determine the specific year.



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WCHA member #8947
Is it me, or does it look like the ribs don't taper (in the middle picture). Though they do appear, in the third picture, to maybe have a slight chamfer. Hand caned seats too, eh?

I may be mistaken, but it's my understanding Thompsons weren't very often given a serial number, or if they had one, the system is yet to be officially determined. I'm sure Dave or Andreas will be able to provide much more expertise...

The boat looks in ok shape though - maybe see a couple of spots where I'd check the planking. Probably paddleable depending on the canvas, right? Re-canvassing is easier than you'd be led to believe (take it from a novice).

I'll let the real experts chime in. Welcome to the forums, incidentally, and the wonderful habit of canoe collecting.

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
There's a really good discussion of Thompson canoes at www.dragonflycanoe.com/id/ (scroll to Thompson Bros. on the left). And, yes-- we have some great experts on Thompsons who will chime in. It's always helpful to post a profile shot of the canoe if you can get one--- of the bow or stern--- some Thompsons had torpedo stems, which can help date them and determine model.


New Member
Thank you both for your imput. I am going to look at the dragonfly website right now, and I guess getting more photos and exact measurements is going onto my "to do" list....

Dave Osborn

The Hiawatha model first appeared in the 1921 catalog with full width half ribs. In the 1938 catalog the half ribs show with spaces like yours through 1943..(I think) When they actually changed is a mystery. The artwork in the catalog may not have stayed current with the modifications.

Post a photo of the bow or stern stem profile.... That's where the clue is. I'm guessing Ranger or Indian model.