B.N. Morris Canoe Company


Build date table revised

Last year a first attempt at a Morris canoe dating table was published in this forum. It was based upon some very broad assumptions and data that Kathy and Dennis had been able to collect. The objective was to use the available build dates to develop a structured dating approach.
Dennis and Kathy's lengthy project to consolidate Morris data, serial numbers and characteristics in their Morris Database including several benchmark dates for Morris canoes provided the basis.
Those canoes and their serial numbers are the core of the build date range table that is found in the Morris Knowledge Base.
A primary assumption was that the business at the Old Town Company was an indicator for the performance of the canoe market. Old Town was the most successful canoe builder at that time and they also kept good records that are still available.

There have been several versions of the table.
One version was based upon a linear production growth. We know this is not a realistic scenario so that version was never published.
Another version assumed that there was sales growth during the period leading up to the war and that the production then fell off after the war.
Unfortunately the Old Town data to support that assumption was not available when the first table was sent to Kathy so the file Kathy published was based upon the benchmark dates and the assumption that the canoe business grew up to the war and slowed but did not significantly drop during the years leading to the Morris factory fire.
That version of the table is the one attached in this Knowledge Base.

Not long after that table was published Benson Grey provided additional insight into the affect that the war had on the Old Town business. In fact there was a very pronounced downturn. From "1916 to 1917 there was 24% decrease in shipments". Benson provided a table with Old Town, Kennebec and Carleton production that shows a very pronounced slowdown. He also provided company documents that spoke of work slowdowns, layoffs and other challenges.

Based upon that information it should be necessary to make some corrections to the original Morris Dating Table.

Attached here are a revised table along with several graphs to depict the changes to reflect a more realistic pre and post war scenario. On the graph that reflects what is (likely) a more correct version the build information that Benson provided after the first table was published has been added.

Here are a revised dating table and two graphs showing the revised Morris build numbers including Benson's Old Town units. This revised table roughly follows the Old Town prewar growth and war drop as it seems likely that the Morris business would have performed similarly. It is assumed that Morris did not carry as much inventory as Old Town was carrying and that they were building to order, again, pure speculation. Maybe a year from now we can find another benchmark canoe in these war years and draw more accurate conclusions....
[image=Morris Dating Table 01 2013.GIF]Updated Morris Dating & SN table[/image]

The following graphs compare the Old Town (w/o Kennebec and Carleton)production to Morris in the same period and then show the Morris production that this revised table summarizes. The scale of this graph makes it easier to see the similarity to the Old Town production.

[image=Morris vs OT Graph 01 2013.JPG]Graph contrasting OT and Morris Production[/image]

[image=Morris Annual Production Graph 01 2013.JPG]Morris production graph[/image]

To be clear....this is not a definitive dating method. It is mostly speculative. There are only a handful of Morris dates that are known with some certainty. The rest of these dates are quasi realistic WAG's.

Regardless, this table offers a common tool for estimation. My proposal is to revise the Knowledge Base with this newer table...or not. As Kathy appropriately notes, these tables help us to assign a build date range...not much more.

The link to last years discussion about this including Kathy's publication of the first table and all of the original graphs and assumptions follows:
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