Build period for Robertson canoes based on SN# font/format, Decks, Plaque, Thwarts, etc.


New Member
I’m looking for help in identifying the period, decade or timeframe in which a Robertson Canoe might have been built.

The canoe is a Robertson model, and has a simple thin font SN# on stems of both the bow “o2523o 17” and stern “o2523o”. Note, there is no following length number on stern SN#. Also, “o”s in SN# are really more of an ellipse shape rather than either an “o” or “0”, making me think it is only a four digit SN#. The font used is not the open or block-doubled type such as “A228 35 16”, which WCHA members seem to endorse as grade-SN#-year-length from the 30’s, but a more simple-thin Courier-esque like font. The Deck has a more W than heart shape. There is a rectangular Robertson plaque on the deck; it does not have curved/rounded one like Benson Gray found on the green painted canoe at the Old Town Canoe factory outlet store. The Robertson wave stamp is on one side of each thwart; with the wave side of stamps on the gunwale side and not towards the center of thwart. The gunwales are closed, the ribs are not tapered and the seats are caned.

I realize that Robertson factory records have been lost, but would appreciate any information members and users might have found based maybe on the purchase date or oral history of original & previous owners of Robertson canoes documented or owned by WCHA members. Many Thanks, JFDJr


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Benson Gray

Canoe History Enthusiast
Staff member
I don't have much better information but was hoping that someone would take this project on. The following examples of Robertson tags and serial numbers may help. Good luck and please keep me posted on what you find.


Robertson.JPG Robertson3.JPG Robertson-154-35-16.jpg Robertson-267.jpg Robertson-302-35-16.jpg Robertson-1030.jpg Robertson-1891.jpg Robertson-2639.jpg Robertson-3188.JPG Robertson-3819.jpg
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New Member


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Dan Miller

cranky canoeist
Staff member
The "W" deck appears to have originated with the Waltham Boat and Canoe Company, which was founded by Charles Bertram Robertson and Fred Perry. Charles Robertson was J. R. Robertson's nephew.

After the Waltham Boat and Canoe Company factory burned down in 1909, Charles Robertson went to work at J. R. Robertson's factory; presumably he brought the design for the "W" deck with him at that time, as a number of Robertson canoes exhibit this deck shape, along with the heart-shaped decks.

Otherwise, as Benson suggested, there just isn't a whole lot of of information about dating Robertson canoes based on serial numbers, deck shapes, or tag styles.