Carleton Canoe Company brass tags


New Member
Hello All,
Found this forum while doing some research on Carleton Canoes. I recently purchased 3 brass tags. They are 7/8 wide by 3 inches long. They say Carleton, Built by Carleton Canoe Co., Old Town Maine. What I would like to know is, did the Carleton Canoe Co. put these tags on their canoes, or are these some kind of repro items. If real, what years were they used. Thanks
I suspect that you have one of the tags shown at the top of the image below. I have never seen one of these on an old canoe. The tag on the bottom of the image below is the kind that usually is found on the old Carleton canoes.

Tags like yours and similar Old Town ones started appearing a few years ago but they do not appear to have ever been used on old canoes. I suspect that they are real but were never used in the past. Feel free to reply here if this doesn't answer your question.



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Carleton tags.

I saw a Carleton at the Hammondsport, NY boat show probably 4 or 5 years ago with a tag like the second one down in Benson's photo. It appeared to be original and the canoe was in unrestored condition. I have a photo somewhere, but couldn't find it.

I have a circa 1910 Carleton and there is a mark on the deck where a tag was attached with brads. It is about the size of the first one shown in Benson's photo.
Carleton Tag on Canoe

I was organizing some photos and I managed to find the picture of the Carleton tag on the canoe at the Hammondsport, NY boat show a few years back.


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Dan Eaton was kind enough to provide the attached image showing another version of the Carleton deck plate. The build record and additional information at shows that it was built between August, 1939 and March, 1940.



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Dan's tag (the "another version") appears identical to the upper one in Benson's first post. Both are 3" long (exactly, as near as I can measure from the pics), and the font and organization are the same in both tags. Looks like maybe that is a real Carleton tag and that it did get at least some use.

Yes Michael, you are correct. I just checked to confirm that the old stock Carleton tags have the same vertical relief as the one that Dan found. Now it will be interesting to see if any original Old Towns show up with brass tags like the one in the lower left corner of the image attached below.



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My un-restored 1924 Carleton has a brass tag, not quite the same as these. When I get back home in a few days I'll post a picture of the deck/tag.

Added August 16th 09-
The tag on my canoe is the same as the one that Fitz posted. The photo of the highly polished tag from the assembly (Fred's) looks like the same tag but it's attached with brass screws.


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Brass Tag W/canoe

I have this tag on a pre 1910 Carleton. Anyone have one like this?


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Bob Bassett said:
Anyone have one like this?

I believe that there is one currently listed in the classifieds here with one like that as shown below.



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Carleton decks

How unusual is it for a Carlton to have an "Old Townish" deck, such as in Fred's picture and possibly one of the other pictures above?
I don't have my materials here, so I can't check on years and such, but it certainly seems that the Old Town-style deck was used on Carleton canoes after acquisition by Old Town (1910?). If they did switch to the Old Town deck style then, there were probably unfinished canoes that already had heart-shaped decks in them, and these could have trickled out of the factory for years (and with various deck plates) as occurred with canoes from other manufacturers.
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Old Town purchased Carleton in March of 1910 as Michael mentioned but the Carleton factory burned the next year so all production of both companies was consolidated into the same factory after June of 1911. The heart shaped decks continued to be used on most Carletons but occasionally the rush to fill an order would cause them to put a Carleton name plate on an Old Town canoe and vice versa.

curiouser and curiouser...

So, was the Carlton that Fred took the picture of actually an Old Town? I know that occasionally a build record turns up saying something like "Carlton shipped as Otca"... is that what we'd see on the build record, or would there be no indication that the canoe got the wrong nameplate?

Thanks for this great info!

Kathryn Klos said:
So, was the Carlton that Fred took the picture of actually an Old Town?

We would need the serial number and build record to know. Occasionally the factory just swapped name plates, other times the decks and serial numbers would be completely replaced. The build record would usually have the whole history.

Fred's picture appears to show a reproduction Carleton name plate so the owner may have simply put it on because they liked it. I have heard a story of a build record that shows a canoe that started as a Carleton and was converted at the factory to be shipped as an Old Town. The current owner decided to leave the Old Town name plate on the bow deck and add a Carleton name plate to the stern deck so this may be that canoe.