Check this out...


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
There is a real nice canoe for sale on Craigslist that may be of interest to someone. It's too much money for me. It's located in Walden, Orange County, NY about 45 minutes from my place so I could look at it if someone wants an evaluation. I have no connection to the seller and have not spoke to him.

Be well,

JIm C.
Thanks for posting this, Jim. Too much money for me right now, too-- but seems to be a good price for this canoe.

Interesting that someone thought they could hoist this baby on their shoulders and portage it! My guess is that the original middle thwart went missing. But this canoe was more of a courting model than a Boundary Waters tripper!

I'm interested in the evolution of the Molitor model-- am working on a story for Wooden Canoe about C.J. Molitor. I see that this boat has open gunwales and didn't have half-ribs... these are changes from the Molitor model as it was originally made for Charles Molitor's livery on Belle Isle.

I'll bug the seller for the serial number and see where this canoe originally went. C.J. Molitor discontinued his livery in 1922, so this canoe would have been ordered by someone else.

I'm not convinced is a Molitor at all. But I've been wrong before so...

The canoe does has some issues, visible in the photo gallery he attached to his ad. It looks soft at the point of one end and the inwale looks cracked where the yoke is attached. Both repairs are real work which, in my mind at least, lowers the value considerablely. The long decks look good however, they don't appear to be split. The yoke looks like a later addition.

I just emailed the seller and asked for the serial number... if he responds, I'll post the build record.

From the research I've done for the C.J. Molitor article-- which includes information from Gil Cramer-- the very first Old Town Molitors were identical to the canoes that B.N. Morris built for Molitor's livery, but over time the Molitor name was used on any O.T. canoe with longer decks... which may account for the fact that this canoe doesn't appear to have as much "torpedo" as we usually associate with the Molitor model.

In the Forums archives, there are build records for two O.T. Molitors that were shipped to C.J. Molitor in 1921... both have floor racks instead of half ribs... and I believe that's a change from the way Molitor ordered them from Morris. So, perhaps the Molitor was morphing even during the time that C.J. was still ordering them.

The seller has reported that the serial number is 18494 which corresponds to a Carleton Molitor model which shipped in 1926 as shown in the build record attached below. I respectfully disagree with Kathy's assertion that "over time the Molitor name was used on any O.T. canoe with longer decks" since this has not been my experience. I offer the following Old Town build records as examples. The message at describes a Charles River model with 20 inch decks from 1923. The build record for number 78816 attached below shows an HW model from 1923 with 30 inch decks. The message at describes a Charles River model with 30 inch arched decks from 1924. The build record for number 79054 attached below shows an Otca model from 1926 with 30 inch decks. The build record for number 90963 attached below shows an Ideal model from 1927 with 30 inch decks.

I have not seen or measured this Carleton Molitor but it appears to have about the same "torpedo" or recurve in the stem as the other Old Town Molitors shown at here. The stem recurve on the Molitors from the 1920s is considerably less than the ones from the 1960s and later.



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What I'd find interesting to explore is the difference in recurve between the Molitor model made by B.N. Morris and that of Old Town (and Carleton). Later Morris Molitors have what Morris called "special ends", or the torpedo look. To my eye, they appear to have significantly more recurve than this Carleton Molitor. Yet, we've been told that the first Old Town Molitors, made for C.J. Molitor's livery, were like Morris Molitors in every way. Did they maybe not have the "special ends" but had "regular"... so they were maybe more like Morris Molitors prior to the era of the special end?

I think we know of someone with an Old Town from Molitor's livery... Denis is a whole lot better than I am at approaching a stranger, measuring device in hand, and asking if he can take a look at something regarding his boat. If we get some data, I'll share it.

A Carleton Molitor! Whoda thunk it?
There have clearly been many variations of the Old Town Molitor model and stem forms. We will probably never know why Old Town called some canoes a Molitor model and others were simply long decked versions of the advertised models. My guess is that a Molitor had extended stems, long decks (asymmetrical in the 1920s), and lots of mahogany. Other options and construction details clearly varied over time. Good luck with the rest of your research,

We all know that Old Town did not mention any Molitor model in any of the early catalogs but a good number of build records show them in the early 1920's.

I have attached a good picture of an early OT Molitor that I have. I know that Benson had one just like it. There were posts lost when the system crashed a few years ago that mentioned how many of these canoe were made.

The stem does look a bit similar to a Morris stem, but not like a true Torpedo stem.

The build record shows it built in 1922 shipped in 1923 to R.H. Macy, which is also on a tag of the short deck.

This build record could be one with the most entires. I don't know I've seen any others with so many follow up repairs.

The canoe does not have splayed stems and the planking pattern is unlike either an OT or a Morris. I will have to find or take a better picture to show the planking.

Today I paddled my birch bark for the first time, pics to be posted later in the chapter happenings.



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Old Town #65397 was the earliest Molitor that I've seen. It was shipped in June, 1921 to C.J. Molitor on Belle Isle(Detroit). The build record does not indicate that it has rub rails nor half ribs, but it has both. It is a closed gunnel canoe with Morris style pocketted ribs. Except for the Old Town style stem, it appears to be identical to the Belle Isle canoes that Morris manufactured before his fire. The second early Molitor that I'm quite familiar with is the one Sue Audette referred to in her book. I believe that it was built in 1922 and shipped to Akron, Ohio. It did not look like the previous Molitor. It didn't look like an Old Town at all. When the canvas was removed the words "go down to Old T" or something to that effect were visible written on the hull. Based on this very limited info, maybe early molitor hulls were not built on any Old Town molds, but were built by somebody else. The first ones likely by Morris, and the ones afterward by Morris or some other manufacturer. maybe Kennebec.
Paul-- The profile on your Molitor appears about as "torpedoed" as our Belle Isle Morris-- we should figure out a way to measure... find a spot common to both canoes, and compare.

Gil-- Interesting that the canoe sent to CJ Molitor was all tricked out, the way he liked 'em, but that info wasn't on the build record. Maybe that's another indication that the canoe was built elsewhere.

The build record states the canoe was brown... I recall seeing the build record for another OT sent to Molitor that was orange. Does anyone think there were some designs... or were these a solid color? I know there's a picture of a Morris-Molitor in an old Forums post, with the shadows of an old design, in the style of a fancy courting canoe.

I'll be needing pictures of anyone's Molitor canoes (Morris, OT, Carleton, Kennebec-- whatever) to go with the article that may be done this fall.