Canoe Identification Help

Andre Cloutier

Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

Thanks, kind of what I thought - last i checked Ma wasnt that far south, but then I wasnt so sure about turning points and dates in U.S. history as I said. There is a perception among certain people that Americans are not well versed on Canada (a tacky show by Rick Mercer in particular exploits this) but I guess I just proved the reverse is true...Next time I'll google it and not be so lazy. Does look like a "C" though...

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
US History...

If you catch Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segments on The Tonight Show, you'll see that many Americans don't know much about American history... or much of anything beyond their own noses. Example-- Jay asks "the man on the street": "who did the US fight in WWII" and gets the answer "France". It's very discouraging.

We get the Rick Mercer show on the Canadian public TV station here, and find it very funny.

Lew's Canoes

Canoe Builder
I did all of the 'canoe'work, including painting the hull. The Owner hired a professional artist to do the gold leaf work and the pinstriping. The hull is painted with Benjamin Moore Impervo, color California Blue. The canoe is now named "Forget Me Not", which is painted just below the rail amidship.Hasn't been in the water yet - looking forward to getting a few pictures in it's natural element. LEW

Michael Grace

Lifetime Member
The reason for all this discussion of Charles River-area builders- who built which canoes, etc.- is that factual information is rare. Of course this is what makes the discussion interesting and fun, though. There was apparently an incredibly incestuous relationship among the various canoe companies in the area, and from there to Maine, New York and Ontario. Given this, the lack of surviving production logs, and the rarity of tags on many of these canoes, it is important not to jump to conclusions. Some years ago, before we know what little we know now, it seemed that any un-tagged long-decked canoe was called a Kennebec K-Special, and many simply weren’t K-Specials.

We’ve discussed the Robertson stamp here before, and I still believe that there is no way to know whether this represents a Robertson-built canoe vs. a Robertson livery canoe. Because there are (1) canoes with Robertson tags and without Robertson thwart stamps, (2) canoes with Robertson stamps but without any tags, and (3) canoes that perfectly match canoes in Robertson catalogs but that lack both tags and stamps... because of all of this, attribution of a thwart stamp to the Robertson factory is pure conjecture. Conjecture is fine; naming antique wooden canoes is not a life-threatening task. But to be accurate, we shouldn’t be hasty.

The same point should be made about the Morris discussions of late. Some Morris canoes lack tags altogether, others have the “typical” stem tag, and others have an oval gunwale tag. The fact that the oval gunwale tags look just like those found on other canoes with makers’ brass tags (and the serial number on the oval tag does not match that on the stem!) means this is another area where caution is required. I would wager that sometime soon a Morris canoe will turn up with one of these gunwale tags AND a stem tag, and that the two numbers will not match. But if this is never seen, there is still an easy explanation- liveries that applied the oval tags only purchased Morris canoes that were built without stem tags (does this mean early Morris? Who knows???).

Again, these aren’t matters of life and death importance, but we must remember that some of the notions about tags, stamps, etc. are hypothesis, not theory. Interesting hypotheses, but hypotheses nonetheless.


Andre Cloutier

Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.
us history

Kathy, you are so right, in SUPER SIZE ME, that documentary about the effect of an all McDonalds diet, the filmmaker approached more people in New York who could recite the big mac song than the pledge of allegiance.
That one Robertson looks vaguely familiar, have to ask D McDaniel if he recognizes the 100mph tape on the bow.:cool:

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
CJ Molitor History, and His Livery Tag

Denis and I are researching C.J. Molitor and his canoe livery, which operated near Belle Isle Park in Detroit. It appears that he began selling Morris canoes in 1907 out of his father's grocery. In 1910, Molitor moved his business to the rear of a penny arcade building in an amusement park located at the edge of the Detroit River. He called it The Canoe House. At some point [more research needed here], he began renting out canoes as well as selling them. The canoe livery lasted until 1922, or two years after the Morris factory burned. These last two years, Molitor ordered canoes for his livery from Old Town.

As nearly as we can figure it, Molitor may have sold tickets for canoe rental at the Canoe House location, and the customers then took the ferry to the island, where the canoes were located. They could then paddle the quiet canals that were made specifically for this purpose. We still have to verify this situation (that the rental canoes were situated on the island, as opposed to at The Canoe House)... but it would make no sense to permit greenhorn-paddlers to rent a canoe and set out on the Detroit River, headed for the island. Granted, folks back then didn't consider "liability"... but we've found no articles regarding drowned canoe-renters.

Attached is a picture of a Molitor livery tag, which is affixed to the bow coaming of an Old Town Molitor. Also attached is a picture of a Belle Isle canal as it appeared over Thanksgiving... looking very much as it did 100 years ago, only without the canoes.

Some day, the Morris that Denis is restoring-- which once was part of C.J. Molitor's livery-- will paddle the canals again.


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