Believe it or not.

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
Today, via snail mail, I received the following documents from Rod Ripley of the Washburn County Historical Society, Shell Lake, Wisconsin. Many thanks to Rod for all his work in looking this up and to Adreas for his original post about the records on Shell Lake Boats at the museum. Interesting that my boat did not have a date but it seems the spring of '49 is pretty accurate guess.

As an aside, I do dislike the nails that Shell Lake used to attach ribs to inwales. Really dislike them.
Thanks Andreas and Rod!


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Any idea how they assigned the last 3 digits? ie, were they just sequential started from the begining, or did they start over at certain times or???

It's so cool knowing records exist that will allow us to connect a serial number to a ship-date with yet another canoe company!

Denis and I will haul out the tag that goes on our shell of a Shell Lake and see what we can find out... it'll help make us a bit more "attached" to this poor ol' girl!

Hi Dan,

The page Rod Ripley sent me is difficult to read here as an attachment because I resized it and lost some clarity. He sent me Sheet number 116, which is the deluxe model(half ribs). I have to assume that each model number had its own sheet, or series of sheets. Yes, the canoes are numbered sequentially. HOWEVER the dates are NOT sequential. The dates seem to jump around, and so I must guess they are ship dates. ie. 202 is dated 5/28/48 but 212 is in the middle of the page and dated 4/1/48. The page I have covers 29 canoes, from number 202 to 230. 202 was dated 5/28/48 and sent to Pine Ridge Resort. Number 230 was dated 7/1/49 and sent to 'DO'. DO got three canoes from my one page alone. I wonder who DO is? Interesting, F. H. Newell got two in June of '48. One was an exchange (no charge) for an old canoe and In perentheses, (experimental) I wonder if "old Canoe (experimental)" was belonging to a competitor? Prices ranged from $96.00 to $160.00.

The page is hand written on what appears to be a generic balance sheet that would be used by an accountant. No colors or types of materials are listed.

"M.W. Co. Duluth Minn" bought one 12/21/48. "M.W. Co." bought one 4/20/49 I wonder if MW meant Montgomery Wards? AT any rate Mr. Ripley was very helpful. Washburn County Historical Society has a pretty important bit of old canoe history.
My guess is they assigned the hull a number when it came off the form and that's why the ship dates jump around-- the same "first-in, last-out" situation as with Old Town.

Too bad there isn't more information in the records as to wood species, but the ship date is the most important bit of information, and I believe Shell Lake didn't offer much variety in canoe models and wood species anyway.

The s/n on the brass tag of our canoe is 116 110.
Thanks Andreas,

The build sheet I received from Mr. Ripley was very cool and I was excited to see my canoe listed. Now I even know who DO is.