Can anyone help me ID this canoe?

Dave Ralph

New Member
I bought a very old wood/canvas canoe over 25 years ago. The prior owner thought that it was around 80 years old at the time and made by a company that he thought had been bought out by Old town. It has a brass tag inside the gunnell which has the number "6205," which may indicate something about a production number. It was painted and otherwise abused before I bought it. Since this is my first post, I hope the photos makes it. Thanks to anyone who can point me toward a place to look. BTW, I am in Horseheads, NY, just below the Finger Lakes; I am pretty sure this canoe spent its time in the Chemung river's quiet waters and in nearby lakes. Thx. Dave Ralph
 

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Dave,

The tag is likely a livery tag- these occur on a variety of canoes from a variety of makers and may have been added by owners of canoe renting liveries. The decks look chunky- not thinned on the amidships edge (heavier like Kennebeck and Carleton as compared to thinned like Morris)- but is that a Morris-type splayed stem barely visible in the bottom of the photo?

Michael
 
The tag and location, if it is near the stern seat, are the same as a short decked, open gunwale Morris that I once owned. If I remember correctly, the commonly accepted way to date a Morris by the number 6205 is to say that it was the 620th canoe built in 1905.
Cheers to all!
 
Morris Serial Numbers

If I remember correctly, the commonly accepted way to date a Morris by the number 6205 is to say that it was the 620th canoe built in 1905.

That theory has been tossed about before, but I no longer believe it to hold water, so to speak.

As you can see here: http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/morris/records/morris.htm, the last Morris canoes built were finished off at the Old Town factory following the 1920 fire. Notice that the serial numbers are in the 17,200's. Also, the old theory would require that no more than 1000 canoes were built in a year by Morris, and that he'd start over on the next batch of 1000 each January. Kennebec exceeded 1000 canoes per year 7 times between 1910 and 1920. Given that you see just as many Morris canoes as Kennebec canoes, I would expect that Morris's production was similar to that of Kennebec.

So, I believe that Morris numbered his canoes sequentially, that the thousands digit, roughly approximates the year, but does not specify the year.
 
Thanks for the insight on Morris dating, Dan!
Have fun at Assembly 2005! I sure had a great time there in 2003.
I'm planning to attend in 2006, where ever it may be.........??
 
Dan Miller said:
So, I believe that Morris numbered his canoes sequentially, that the thousands digit, roughly approximates the year, but does not specify the year.

If we assume that Morris put serial number one on his wood and canvas canoes around 1900 and stopped around number 17200 when his factory burned in January of 1920 than that works out to about 860 canoes per year. Does anyone have some original Morris information that lists one or more serial numbers with the shipping or build dates which could be used to refine this estimate? Thanks,

Benson
 
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