Carlton ID


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
When some kind person has nothing to do, could you look for the build record for an early closed gunnel Carlton. The serial #7543 is stamped in the normal fashion parallel to the stem, the length 16 is stamped perpendicular to the stem at the very end. It is a CS grade with outside stems and a short bow carry thwart. Condition is good with no broken ribs and only a little rot at the tips. The gunnel caps, decks and inwales look good. It was an Ebay purchase miss-identified as an Old Town Charles River.

Thank you,
Jim C.
Jim: The early Carleton build records are incomplete. The serial numbers jump from 7542 (a 17' B grade built in 1910) to 7567 (a 16' B grade built in June 1911). While I can't give you the specific build record I can tell you it dates back to the 1910 - 1911 timeframe. - Al

Thank you, Al. Just my luck, one digit off. I'll take some pictures and measurements tomorrow and maybe we can figure out what model it is.

Was following that eBay auction and am glad you got the canoe. It was yet another example of a seller who wouldn't look at what he/she had and compare to the build record.

Carleton pics

The Ebay seller was convinced it was an Old Town and had a build record for that serial number but it was obvious to me that it was a Carleton. So anyway it measures 34" wide and 13" deep more or less. Attached are a couple of pics. Al, what is the build date of the canoe with serial #7542? Mine should be very close to that date as well. Thanks to all. Maybe in a couple of years it will be ready for the water. Until then it will sit in my barn awaiting it's "Hour of Resurrection."


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Found the build record for the canoe assigned to the number just before yours. Scans of approximately 210,000 records were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. Additional information about the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details.

I know you're a member, but others reading this who aren't members should heed to the suggestion that they join WCHA or make a tax deductible contribution so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA, to watch a 10 minute video about WCHA and our programs and to join.

Very cool design on the canvas, which reminds me of the design on the Old Town paddled by Eric Severeid in Canoeing with the Cree. I will attach a picture of that one...

I seem to recall that the seller of your Carleton was informed that it didn't look like an Old Town, and I remember looking into the Carleton records and being unable to find that canoe. But perhaps even with the evidence that there was a Carleton with that same number and a star-design on the bow couldn't have shaken the belief that this was an OT canoe.

I recall arguing with an eBay seller over what was obviously a Chestnut she'd listed as an Old Town Charles River. "Old Town told me it was an Old Town."


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Thank you

Thank you Kathryn. I guess it's safe to say that my canoe was built in July or August of 1910. Unfortunately there is no history with the canoe to say what it has been doing for the last 98 years. I should try to get it restored for it's 100th birthday. I have to get my Crandell done first and then my Detroit before I start this one. Thanks again. Enjoy the 4th.

Did you say, "Detroit"?

Denis and I have two Detroit Boat Company canoes-- both are Huron River models. Not much is known about this company, and it doesn't appear there are many of the canoes around. I'd love pictures or a description of yours... to include in our Detroit database which is so small it's mostly in my head!

From the limited number we've seen, the only thing we've determined is that the medallion appears to have an "older" and a "newer" version--- the older being heavier and more deeply impressed. The company operated from 1906 to 1916, so with only a ten year span, it may not be a big deal whether a canoe is "an older Detroit" or not.... and the "newer" medallion, for all we know, could be something used only the last year... it's just that it's the only difference we've seen among the limited number of canoes in "the database"... aside from model-differences.

JClearwater said:
I guess it's safe to say that my canoe was built in July or August of 1910.

Actually, it is much more likely that your canoe was built some time before March of 1910 when the Carleton Canoe Company was purchased by Old Town. It would have been after this date when they started keeping records on the cards which have been scanned. This is similar to the situation with your Old Town canoe that has serial number 1483 which also pre-dates the available scanned records. We can assume that these canoes were numbered sequentually as they came off the forms but this offers no information about when they were shipped or anything else. It looks like a great canoe in any case.

It's one of Jack McGreivey's Detroits

Sorry to disapoint you Kathryn. I wanted a solo canoe so I bought a half-built Detroit 15 from Jack last year. It's a bare hull that needs to be completed.

Benson you are a wealth of information. How do you keep it all in your head? I can't remember anything anymore. I blame it on all those parties during the '70s. I went to Paul Smith's College, class of 1974. It was the glory days when you could drink at 18, hitch hike with ease and keep your hunting rifle in your dorm room. There seemed to be a refrigerator in every other room just for the beer. Oh well, they say the mind is the first to go - I can't remember what the second thing is.

The other thread about Carleton tags is interesting. I will look at my canoe tomorrow in the daylight and see if there are any tell tale brad holes. To be continued then...

Thanks again.

JClearwater said:
How do you keep it all in your head?

Actually Jim, I must confess that my memory is nothing without a good laptop and a search utility for support. Over indulgence during the 1970s appears to be starting to catch up with me too. I will be curious to learn if your decks have any brad holes or other signs of a brass plate. Thanks,

No plate, no holes

I checked my canoe in the daylight and there are no brad holes or tell tail shading that there was ever an ID plate at all. I wish there was but sad to say nothing there.