Builder information

Lew's Canoes

Canoe Builder
Does anyone have any information about a builder in the Rochester, NY area by the name of G.W. Ruggles? (Spelling may not be correct)
Capt. George Ruggles lived and worked in Charlotte, NY, a suburb of Rochester. He built canoes from the 1880s into the early 1900s, and received a patent for the unique way he built boats (the patent was for the mold). His boats were built with a brass spline set into a groove in each plank edge. He was well-known for his decked racing canoes, and it was said he wouldn't build one for you unless he thought you were good enough.

We've identified at least 21 canoes Ruggles built, referenced in the period literature. A few Ruggles canoes survive, one in the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, one at the Sodus Point Lighthouse museum; there may be a couple others in private collections.

There is an article on my website about one of Ruggles' canoes, the Foggy Dew. Go here: and click on the link to Foggy Dew.

If you think you've discovered one, I would sure like to know more about it... I have more info if there is something specific you are looking for.

Dan - I recently purchased a canoe ( serious restoration project) from a guy, and when I picked it up, he told me that he had a friend who had some of the original forms that were used by Ruggles. That is the extent of my knowledge about this, but I was curious about who Ruggles was and what kind of boats he built and when.
Hi Lew,

Yes, I understand the forms currently reside in a barn in Charlotte, and are owned by Ruggles' great-nephew.