help on SN 13053


Sail or Paddle
Bought this on eBay in 2003, it was advertised as an Old Town in pristine condition. Would have sank in about 5 minutes had I thrown it on the water when I got it! :mad: I completed restoration in Sep 09, 14 new ribs, some plank, new yoke, seats, brass stem bands, and of course canvas.

I can't determine make/model. Only ID is 13053 stamped in the wood of both stems. I'm hoping someone will quickly recognize the brass on the decks for a positive ID?

OT sent me the original document for 13053, shipped 30 March 1910, grade CS, model "HW" maybe? It says decks for OT 13053 were ash and gunwales/rails were spruce (have attached a partial, can't reduce whole thing small enough).

Length is correct, but my decks are definitely not ash (assuming my decks are the originals, which I cannot verify), and I believe my gunwales/rails are mahogany, again, assuming originals here.

Any help appreciated. It has a keel as well. All wood in the pics of the finished canoe is 'original material' as received by me except for the seats and yoke. Will try to shrink a pic of the whole finished product, not quite tech savvy enough, but it looks great! Thanks!


  • OTC Orig 13053 - Copy.jpg
    OTC Orig 13053 - Copy.jpg
    339.2 KB · Views: 312
  • CN SN 13053 II.jpg
    CN SN 13053 II.jpg
    252 KB · Views: 340
  • Decks 6.JPG
    Decks 6.JPG
    383.4 KB · Views: 356
  • CN bow fastening II.JPG
    CN bow fastening II.JPG
    182.9 KB · Views: 323
  • Finished 2 Sep 09 b.jpg
    Finished 2 Sep 09 b.jpg
    138 KB · Views: 333
  • CN Nov 07.JPG
    CN Nov 07.JPG
    276 KB · Views: 351
Hopefully, somebody can post the build record for Carleton number 13053. I think that's likely to be your canoe.
Carleton 13053 may be a match. I'll look up 58 as well, but will post this first. An interesting canoe.

Carleton 13053 is an 18' AA (top) grade Carleton model canoe. AA grade is generally trimmed in mahogany, as is your canoe. It was completed between March 1917 and March 1919-- two years-- maybe WWI interfered? Or it was waay back in a corner, and everything up front got finished first? Interesting to speculate.

This canoe has open mahogany gunwales, 18" mahogany decks, and mahogany thwarts and seat frames. It has half ribs, outside stems, a keel, a painter ring, and two flush flag pole sockets.

Originally, the canoe was painted Nile green, with a 1/2 inch gold stripe and the name "Dauntless" on what may be right and left stern or bow and stern... it's doctor-writing, and other opinions are welcome!

The canoe was shipped to Allentown, PA, on April 5, 1919.

The scan of this record is attached below-- click on it to get a larger image. This scan and several hundred thousand others were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details. I hope that you and anyone else reading this will join or renew membership in the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to renew.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Go through this description, and if you aren't sure if yours matches, please ask. And feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.



  • carlton 13053.jpg
    carlton 13053.jpg
    279.5 KB · Views: 319
Carleton 13058 is a similar canoe, taking two years to complete (Mar 1917 to July 1919). It's also an 18 foot AA grade Carleton model, with 18" mahogany decks and otherwise trimmed in mahogany... but with closed gunwales and no half ribs and maybe outside stems, but not as clearly (canoe in the picture has OSS) This canoe was shipped July 19, 1919 to New York City.

I think the other record fits as far as the painter ring and flag sockets. Does the other fit as far as shipping destination? Does the canoe have half ribs?


  • Carleton 13058.jpg
    Carleton 13058.jpg
    253.1 KB · Views: 283
Thanks all. My canoe does in fact have half ribs, and its decks are 18" from the tip to the apex of the curve at the rear of the decks (i.e. a measurement straight down the midline of the deck).

Its LOA is right about 18'2" (me measuring by myself, so this is counting the curve of the canoe so this measurement may be a couple inches long). I assume LOA is proper measurement? If measured from the top of outer stem to top of outer stem, it is 16'4".

Kathy, the 13053 build record you posted seems to say there were two painter rings and two flag sockets. My canoe has two of each.

The SN is definitely 13053. I have no accurate history on the canoe, only that it was in upstate NY when the delivery truck picked it up for me. The guy selling it seemed to be selling it for an older gentleman, and he told me in an email that the canoe had supposedly appeared in a movie or two (the guy had no further info than that). I took this with a grain of salt afterwards because remember, this is the same guy who advertised the canoe was 'pristine'.

I assume 'open gunwales' is (in my layman's terms) where I can see down between the gunwale and rail, where the rib tops create that space? Forgive my construction ignorance!

the seat frames that came with the canoe in 2003 were intact, and yes, were mahogany, but the seat covering was a sort of faux-leather affixed with closely-spaced brass rivets all the way around (see pic). Looked like a 1950's cob-job, so I scrapped them in favor of the rawhide laced mahogany seats from a place up in Brattleboro, VT. Probably an error in tossing them out, but what's done is done.

As you see from the first set of pics, it was green when I got it, but it had at least been red once, as I could see red clearly under the green when I removed the old canvas. Under the red, it appeared to be only grey filler, but I guess there is every chance it was not the original canvas, being ~90 years old when I got it :)

So, a quick search tells me OT bought Carleton Canoe Co. in 1909 and continued the Carleton model, starting with SN 1700. So, if that is accepted as true and if my canoe is in fact the one in the build record Kathy sent me, then I have an OT canoe, Carleton model?

Does it make sense that I may have the Carleton 'Indian Princess'? Might this have been the Carleton AA? See paste below, assuming it is accurate information:

Indian Princess (1914-1941): Built to same model as Carleton Model (1914-1923) or Open Gunwale Canoe (1924-1941) but with mahogany gunwales, thwarts, decks, seats, etc. The "fancy" model.

Thank you,


  • CN seat Nov 07 - Copy.JPG
    CN seat Nov 07 - Copy.JPG
    281.2 KB · Views: 331
Usually, the build record would have "Indian Princess" written for the model if the canoe were an Indian Princess". Most had split mahogany decks with a king plank as long as 5 or 6 feet on the bow, and 2 feet in the stern.
You're right about the open gunwales... the rib-tops are sandwiched between inwales and outwales, creating a space for dumping out water.

You asked, "So, if that is accepted as true and if my canoe is in fact the one in the build record Kathy sent me, then I have an OT canoe, Carleton model?"

Nope-- you have a Carleton canoe, Carleton model. This might seem confusing, but several of the old companies had a basic model that was the same name as the company. Old Town continued to manufacture canoes under the Carleton name.

Glad we found the right record... it's a nice canoe.

It did turn out very nicely, am very happy with it. It was my first restoration...of anything really. Benefit of growing up on a farm I guess.

Kathy, one question on the build record...I see it was canvassed in 1917 but half ribs added in 1919. I would have thought securing half ribs would occur prior to a canvas going on. An explanation? Thanks.
My understanding is that half-ribs are clinched and would go on before the canoe was canvassed... so someone else may have to answer this one. Could be that the half-ribs were ordered by a buyer and they re-did the canvas... this canoe sat for a couple years before it was shipped.

We have a canoe with half-ribs that were added during a restoration, when the canvas would have been removed.
My guess is that the half ribs went in in 1917 when on the form, were overlooked, and may not have been recorded at that time. Then when the canoe went back into production in 1919 the half ribs were noticed and were documented on the record to get the all of the canoes features on the record.
Sometimes build records produce as many questions as answers!
Nice job, BTW...