History details for Ser# 6718 16


Camillus Canalrat Master
What sort of history details can be found for an old towne canoe with serial # 6718 16?

It is a 16' wood and canvas with sponsons. The current color is green and has been that color for at least 40 years as far as I know. I can only remember it being painted once.

Although it is in good shape for its age, the paint and canvas are in need of attention. I would like to restore it but dont want to alter its value as a historic item. What sites can you recommend that would focus on restoration while preserving historic value?

Thanks for your help and a most interesting forum visit.
Ot 6718 15


The canoe you reference was shipped to New York, NY., in July 1907 as a model HW in CS grade. The decks, thwarts and seats were maple and the gunwales were spruce. It was built with a keel, sponsons, oarlocks and the original color was "dark green". A build record is attached.

If you are not already a member, please consider joining the WCHA and help support this service which is brought about by substantial grants and volunteer efforts. This is also THE BEST resource for your restoration plans both in the forum (expert advice from the experts) and the store. Also check out the Builders resource in the index.

Best of luck with this fine old canoe!

Ric Altfather


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Thanks Ric for the information.

You are correct that the canoe has a keel and oarlocks. However, one of the oarlocks is gone and I shall have to see about finding a replacement.

Do you know of a way to trace the first buyer of the canoe? Or perhaps who to contact to start such a process? I know most of the history but am curious as to the very beginning.

I plan to become a member of WCHA and want to thank you for your help.
First Buyer


The build record indicates that the canoe was ordered through Macy's Department store in New York City who appears to be a large volume customer of Old Town during this time frame. I have not seen Macy's customer name on any of the records and it would not be important to Old Town as Macy's was their customer. I wouldn't know where to begin.

For you oarlock, check Old Town's web site under restoration materials or in the Builders section of the WCHA.

Good luck,

Thanks again Ric.

I will get inventive as far as the history goes. I have a fairly good idea of the history and just need to fortify it with some facts. You have given me a good start.

I plan to get into the process of restoring this heirloom in the near future. I will start with the suggestions that you have given me and go from there.

I hope to be able to find a replacement oarlock via the route you have mentioned. However, I am rather adept at improvising things. Do you know of anyone to ask regarding the "exactness" of parts as it relates to the items value? I know I can make an oarlock to match this for "looks" but I also know the metal content would probably be different and it may take a different "shine" when all is done. I want to do my best to maintain the originality and not detract from any potential collectors value.

I appreciate your help and look forward to many returns to this site for all it has to offer.
One other suggestion for the oarlock, it was probably brass or bronze and there are folks out there that can duplicate the piece. I have also heard they are good but have not tried www.bristolbronze.com, but their catalog is extensive. You may find something there. Send pictures of the before and after.

What kind of oarlocks are they? The usual patent swivel oarlocks that Old Town typically used? If so, they are still made. You can get them from Shaw and Tenney (be sure you are sitting when you see the price!). They also turn up on Ebay frequently. The trick is to get a set that mate properly.
Ric and Dan,

Thanks for such a quick response to my questions.

I went to the "Bristolbronze" and the "Shaw & Tenney" sites and enjoyed each visit. However, I am now wondering if I was wrong about what I thought was an oarlock holder.

When I study what I thought was the remaining holder, I can find no trace of where the missing holder should be on the other side. This "holder" is about 27" forward of the stern seat. As you can see by the picture, I suspect that I am looking at the original finish....or close to it. The condition is similar on the opposite side but I can see no trace of holes where the 4 screws would have been placed. If there are no holes, did Old Towne stagger the location of the holders? Or am I looking at something else?

About 68" forward of the rear seat there is a single vertical hole, about 3/16", one on each side, but no sort of hardware is attached at either of these holes. And the holders on the sites I visited didn't seem to attach in a manner that would match the holes I found.

Did Old Towne have a set location of where oarlock holders were attached?

Did they always use the same types of holders?

Thanks again for your help and suggestions.


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Dan is the true expert on this but I suggest that the other gunwale was replaced along the line and hence the missing oarlock and mounting holes.

ggetty, that is indeed an oarlock. It's mate should be directly opposite, as they are not much use otherwise. However, according to the build record, your canoe should have sponsons. The typical oar lock that Old Town used with sponsons was the "patent swivel" oarlock. This is comprised of a rectangular base, about 4" long that has a post in the center and and an incomplete ring around it. The horns have a hole in the bottom to receive the post, and lugs that interlock with the ring on the base. It is designed such that the horns can only be removed when the horns are parallel to the base, and otherwise the horns are free to swivel, but in typical use, won't pop off the base.

Old Town did offer "regular" type oarlocks as well, but the catalogs don't show a photo, so I am not sure what style they would be.

So, does your canoe have the sponsons still? If so, look for evidence of the oarlocks on the upper surface, in about the location shown in the attached photo. If the sponsons are not there, is there evidence that they were present at one time? Look for a row of holes in the ribs a few inches below the gunwales. If there are no holes, then your canoe did not have sponsons, and you should double check your serial number.

Given the location of the existing oarlock, how narrow the beam is, and the lack of evidence of a mate, my best guess is that someone installed this one sometime after the canoe was built, perhaps to hold a fishing rod or something.

The other pair of holes might indicate a missing thwart.



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Thank you for your replies.
Given its age this canoe is in great shape. Except for being repainted once, I can remember no major repairs. Thanks Dan for posting that picture! I think I can see the outlines of a thin patch under the paint on the sponsons in the area that the picture has the oarlocks. You have to look carefully to see them. I might have missed them if not for your picture and description.

There are several accessories that go with this canoe. When I have the chance to get them I will look for the "patent swivel" oarlocks. I can remember seeing them when I was young, but at the time I didnt realize that they belonged on the canoe!

One last question, for now anyways. I want to do this right but dont want to "over" do it. Although the paint is badly cracked, the canvas on the canoe only has a few small holes about the size of a dime. Is it best to re-canvas it or should I try to save the original canvas? Can you recommend some reading material that can provide some "rule of thumb" guideance along these lines?

Thanks again for all of your help!
Although the paint is badly cracked, the canvas on the canoe only has a few small holes about the size of a dime. Is it best to re-canvas it or should I try to save the original canvas?

It is almost always an excercise in false economy to try to save an old canvas, expecially if it is crazed and has holes. Best to just bite the bullet and put on a new one.
I will put on a new canvas as you suggest. Pictures will be taken to provide a true before and after.

I enjoyed my visit to the Dragonfly Canoe Works and plan to return to do more exploring.

Thank you for your time and patience. You have been most helpful.