A benefit of working for Old Town Canoe... ?

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
Found the following statement in an eBay listing and am wondering if it's true, or if the seller made it up. The listing is for a square stern canoe that apparently isn't an Old Town:

"It is assumed that this is a one-off build by an employee of Old Town done during the weekends when the factory allowed employees to use the facilities to build their own creations."

What an interesting perk that would be: work for OT, and use their factory and materials on weekends to build your own canoes...
Wouldn't you have to have your canoe off the form by Monday morning? In case an order came through for that particular design?

K: .Very interesting. .Read other stories in the wood inboard I.D. about winter employees building their own fishing / guide boat around the St Lawrence river, like Hutchinson. . Hobby collectors years later wondering the slight position & shape variations. !

.. Maybe this is where Johnny Cash got the idea too build a GM car in the early 50's.?? "One piece at a time ." Dont cost me a dime.
Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co. allowed this to happen on occasion. It was not a regular occurance, but it did happen. Especially if you were a family member!

Pete Thompson (about age 70 now) built a Thompson duck boat in the mid 1950s (about 5 years after they stopped making 'em for sale) using the molds. He did it on weekends and at nights while working at Cruisers, Inc. 14 miles down the road and had help form one of the old timers. He still has the duck boat and has brought it to the Thompson Boat Rally in years past.

The Ray Thompson family also nabbed a Ranger w/c canoe off the line after the canvas was filled but before it was painted. About 1952. They stuck it up in the rafters of the garage at home. It has never seen the water. It's a pretty cool piece of history.

I don't know of anyone who was working in the factory in 1947 that is still alive and could confirm the assertion made at http://cgi.ebay.com/_W0QQitemZ200445632636 on eBay. There was no policy like that when I was there in the 1960s and 1970s although occasional favors were probably allowed in some cases. My guess is that the canoe in this auction is from one of the other builders listed at http://www.wcha.org/history/maine-list.htm or a home built one.

There was a story told about after some after hours work that was done when planking was paid on a piece work basis. An employee got his weekly pay at the end of the day and then went into a local bar for a few drinks. Several hours later he realized that he had spent more than he intended so decided to go back to work. He went back to the factory, found an open window to climb through, and proceeded to plank several more canoes to make up for his lost wages. This behavior was not encouraged and his quality on these canoes was probably not AA grade.

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