EBay Fun

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
I am new to posting here, so don't know if it's common for folks to announce that they are bidding on something on eBay, or that they "won" a cool canoe. Whenever I have "lost" a canoe in the final moments of an auction, I hope that it went to another WCHA member-- or at least to someone who loves old canoes.

Anyway, dovetail_notch would like to thank members of WCHA for helping the sellers of the following canoe identify it rightfully as a Morris. It is home now, and is free of its fiberglas shell and on its way to becoming even more beautiful.

Nothing wrong with a little friendly gloating, so far as I'm concerned. You'll want to post update photos, as that ebay link will expire 30 days from auction (or maybe its 90 days, so either way...).
Nice catch. Looks to be in decent shape. You have a different color scheme in mind, right ?

I'm sure the old guy appreciates it going to a good home. In Michigan, no less. As you've noticed, there's a wealth of information in the group here. I have a similar Morris. Beautiful boats. Are you finding any serial no.s or ID tags ?
Yes, it's good to know that a fellow member won the auction. It was going to be a short trip from my summer place to pick that one up.

I'm sure it's found a good home.


Hello again.

Yes, Pond-Scum Green will not be this canoe's eventual color. Most of that particular color is inside garbage bags, but some still exists on wooden-parts that weren't encased in fiberglas. There was a little bug-- a beetle of sorts-- which matched the canoe and thought it was well-camouflaged until late yesterday. I hope he found a new green home.

I currently co-own the canoe with long-time WCHA member Denis Kallery, but the restoration project is mostly his, and the canoe is mostly-his for that reason. I am mostly basking in the joy of watching... although I've done a lot of paint-stripping, so may work on that part-- but Denis is the woodworker. He currently envisions the canoe in black with red trim, like one we saw on a website. I envision it with some art deco details, like some of the canoes we've seen on line. This particular canoe is begging for that sort of attention.

The bow and stern decks both look to have had flag holders at one time. If anyone knows where to find things like that, I'd appreciate knowing. Maybe eBay? (That's where I found the book I loved when I was five years old.)

I posted this thread because I figured some who were bidding on this canoe might be WCHA members, and I wanted them to know the canoe wasn't going to become a bookcase or restaurant decoration. Also, I wanted to mention that the sellers were appreciative of information received from WCHA and pleased that their canoe was purchased by members of this organization.

I'll update with pictures-- and would love to see pictures of other canoes that are similar to this one. Thanks.

I forgot to mention the brass tag with the serial number 15768, found in the stern. So, according to theory, this canoe was probably built in 1915. The bow deck is 36 inches long and the stern 24 inches. Looking up into these areas totally blows me away... the construction is so simple and beautiful... sheer poetry. Eventually I will get in there with the camera.

Denis has done some emailing-of-people and poking around on line, and thinks this canoe might have come from Belle Isle. The folks we bought it from may be able to find out more information from the old man who owned it for many years. We also wonder if he knows what became of the removeable center thwart-- he used the canoe for duck hunting, so it may have been in the way.

As the canoe is restored, its history may also become known...
I forgot to mention the brass tag with the serial number 15768, found in the stern. So, according to theory, this canoe was probably built in 1915.

I've said this before, that theory doesn't work. True, it can maybe be used to get a rough ballpark date for Morris canoes, but we know for a fact, from the Old Town records, that the canoes that survived the Morris factory fire had serial numbers in the low 17,000s. (See http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/morris/records/index.html for more info).

What I believe is the case is that the Morris canoes were sequentially numbered (the number in no way codes the date), starting with Number 1 (or more likely Number 1000) and dating back to 1893 or so (we know he was offering canvas covered canoes in his 1893 catalog; it is also possible the earliest canoes were un-numbered), and then by 1920, he was building canoes numbered in the 17,200s.
Thanks, Dan... so, I we can say with any degree of certainty is that this canoe is pre-1920, given a 15XXX serial number.
Absolutely. It is rumored that Morris continued to build a small number of canoes after the fire, but if he did, they have not been recognized. Morris apparently worked for Old Town for a while after the fire. The Morris molds were used by the Kennebec Canoe Company in the mid-twenties, but these are numbered differently (and none have come to light so far as we are aware).
Morris Project

Here's my Morris project, as received, several years ago. It also has a 36 inch forward deck and 24 inch after deck. IO have the holes for flags or pennants, but no fittings. I was also missing the center thwart, but since made three new, matching parts.

Thanks for the replies---

Paul, your canoe looks like ours!

Gil, your information helps a lot and affirms things Denis and I have been thinking re our canoe. We are both drawn to "the Molitor look", which is one reason this particular canoe went into our eBay "watching" as soon as it came on--- her lines drew us in.

I've been poking around the internet for pictures of Belle Isle canoes circa 1910-1920 and found a slew of things to go through at the Library of Congress website. Your offer to have someone take over your research is intriguing. If no one else has their hand in the air, you might consider me, along with my friend Denis Kallery. I've written for nursing-related publications and also some fiction and poetry and can put sentences together okay... and when I'm fired-up about something, I really get into it, detail-wise. Denis has been a WCHA member since shortly after the dawn of time, and knows canoes in general and what other members might expect, information-wise. Whatever is decided, if I find any interesting pictures I'll pass along the information.

Thanks again--
Morris - Old Town Stem

Gil: You mentioned that an Old Town Molitor is nearly indecernable from a Morris except for the "old Town stem". I understand the Morris stem to be "splayed" (wide at the bottom) as shown in the eBay photos of Kathryn's boat. Is that the difference ? Is the Old Town stem narrow and made with parrallel sides ?

Also, could you please explain "pocketed ribs" ?

The Detroit connection is interesting. My Morris (?) was acquired in Illinois from the previous owner who got it from his father in Ohio, and thought that it was purchased in Detroit.

Here's the full profile of mine (aft deck removed, & canvas flapping) -

Pocketed Ribs

See the post in Wood Canvas/Fiberglass maintenance and construction for some photos of pocketed ribs.