courting canoe canopies

tom lange

Curious about Wooden Canoes
hello all! we have 6 canoes now in the collection, 2 of which are long deck courting canoes. our favorite is a 16' Waltham with cuban mahogany decks. does anyone have a picture of a courting canoe sporting a canopy w/ netting ???? especially the hardware !!!!! am wanting to set this one up with a proper top. if anyone has pictures of such a rig, or the hardware used , or where to get bracketry for such would greatly appreciate whatever you may have to share !!!!! we had to completely make the top frame and find brackets in england when we did the same for our 1910 19' fan tail picnic launch. appreciate any help any one can give. thanks tom lange

Every single unrestored courting canoe I've seen (that would be many) with hardware for a canopy did NOT have the type of hardware that would support the type of flat-topped canopy you see on early launches. Dave DeVivo has a courting canoe that he restored and it has a flat-topped canopy, but I don't recall whether there was any proof (i.e. original hardware) that proved this type of canopy was on the canoe originally.

"Original" is a problematic word here, though. Canopy hardware and materials were available aftermarket, and it's hard to know all of the options that may have been available from the company. Old catalogs are often incomplete when it comes to all avaialble options.

As for the commonly-seen hardware, brackets were mounted inside the coaming (3 pairs), and they supported flat, folding spring steels. These folded at a rivet near the center, and the ends of an unfolded spring steel would be inserted into one pair of brackets. Three of these spring steels would thus make a set of semicircular hoops over the canoe cockpit. The canopy or netting was run on these hoops.

I have info (an original package) from a company that made these canopy sets, but will have to dig it out.

The images below show the canopy brackets on my Old Town Charles River model canoe. It shipped in 1907 but there is nothing on the build record about these brackets. The last photo shows Dave DeVivo's courting canoe with a canopy from the Assembly a few years ago. Another style of canopy is shown at on a slightly larger canoe. Another more colorful one is attached below. The old canoe company catalogs show a broad variety of canopies on canoes. Let us know what you decide to do.



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That cylindrical mount is very similar to the ones on Dave's "Bluebell", if memory serves, except that on bluebell- a closed-gunwale courting canoe- they are not top-mounts, but rather are mounted to the inside face of the gunwale. But they are cylinders with a setscrew that holds a vertical post in place. I don't know why this style seems less common; it's an elegant solution.

The photo below shows one of the brackets that holds a spring steel. Same style as found on many Charles River-area canoes.



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See inquiry beginning at entry #14 under the thread BN Morris regarding my question about a brass artifact and a grommet-like impression of a lost brass artifact on the inside inwale surfaces just aft of breasthook/foredeck of my 1915 B. N. Morris.

Mark Douglass

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