Looking for info on vintage Langford.

George Gibson

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I would like to know more about an ollder wood/canvas canoe that I am restoring. It has the remains of a Langford sticker on the bow deck and a Serial #47816 stamped on the bow stem.
Andrew at Langford could not provide any info on the SN.
This is a 16' with 34-1/4" beam, 13-3/8" depth. It has a rounded bottom (not semi-circle), with straight sides, slight rocker, shoe keel, moderate recurve. Rails, stems, decks, thwarts, and seat frames are all red oak.
The seats are laced rawhide in a very simple square criss-cross. Planks are flat sawn. Ribs are 2-5/8" spaced about 2" apart. Cant ribs are much wider. Stem bands are 1/2" aluminum.
It may have been bought in Winnipeg in 1974, though Andrew guessed it looked like '60s.
I'm not familiar with the canoe business or history.
From this information, is it possible to narrow down the age? Style name? Anything at all?
 
Can you post pictures of three things:
(1) a photo of the serial number stamped in the stem
(2) a photo of seat to see the hole pattern for the rawhide
(3) the remains of the Langford sticker

The company's decal shape changed from rectangular to an upside diamond to a round version over the years. The current owners are actually the 6th group to operate the company which no longer has any connection to founder, Kenneth Langford. They burned all the original building forms in the mid-90s and now outsource their wood canoe building to a completely different builder in Quebec.

I've recently been in contact with the 4th owner of the company who sold the business in 1984 and have some catalogues. If you post some pics, the approximate time frame could be narrowed down and compared to known model lists.

P.S. What you've listed sounds very close to their 16foot "Trapper" model but best to confirm with pics.
 
Thanks very much Murat. Please see pics.
G.
 

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Thanks for posting. From what I can see the combination of the decal, deck shape and serial number style are not consistent with the 1960s era. Believe your boat would be a late 70s model. Here's some background of the company for your interest:

The canoes were originally built by Mr. Ken Langford (1908-1968) out of the marina he owned on the south shore of Lake of Bays, Ontario, between the towns of Baysville & Dorset. Up until the late 1960s, the canoes were not known to have serial numbers and would have been labelled with a rectangular logo with the name Langford Marine like the example below:

Langford Marine Photo1.jpg


In 1967, Langford sold off the marina part of his business but kept the canoe building entreprise in a building on the property. The business was only then registered officially as "Langford Canoe Company". Less than a year later, Langford passed away and the business was taken over by his assistant Kenneth Treadwell. During Treadwell's time, the logo changed to a reverse diamond shape like this:

Treadwell Langford Deck and Decal.JPG


Treadwell also put a consistent serial number system in place, but it used 6 stamped numbers (not the 5 number form like yours) in the format XXYYZZ where XX was the year; YY the number built off the form; ZZ the length of the canoe. Furthermore, Treadwell used a consistent deck shape that was a continuation from Mr. Langford. The cutout at the bottom was not a semi-circular shape like yours but instead had a more subtle indent which you can see in the pictures above.

In 1976, Treadwell sold the business was sold to a group of businessmen who incorporated the name as Langford Canoe and Woodworking, Inc. The company branched out into fibreglass and production of was moved from the original marina location to a large industrial warehouse across from the Muskoka airport near Gravenhurst, Ontario. The cream and blue coloured diamond logo with Baysville as the location was replaced with a round green logo with white text that featured a beaver and no town location. Here is what the intact decal would look like:

Post76 Langford Decal.JPG


Therefore any boat with this new round decal has to date from after the 1976 incorporation time frame. The post 1976 time was a period of major transition. The deck shapes changed to be semi-circular (just like yours), the logo changed, and the serial number system changed to be highly variable, inconsistent format. One of those formats used for a short time was a 5 digit system like yours: XYYZZ with X being the month, YY the year, ZZ the length. Your serial number therefore points to April 1978 as the production time and matches the decals and deck shape being used in this era. Here's a price sheet (dated to Sept 15, 1978) that shows their models. Based on this you either have a 16 foot trapper or their 16 Algonquin model.

s-l1600.jpg

Catalogue dimensions rarely perfectly match as they often rounded off to whole number, but based on the width of your boat, you may have the 16' Algonquin.

By 1979, the business was acquired in its entirety by a single investor who downsized the operation and moved it back to a family property near Dorset, not far from the original marina location.

The company was sold off to a fifth owner again in 1984 and then to current owners who have been operating 1990, although their wood canoes have been been made by a builder in Quebec who uses a completely different building method and style than what you have.

All that red oak makes these boats quite heavier than they need to be, but they are quite functional paddling boats. They were purpose built for recreational tripping particularly given the proximity to Algonquin Park. I still see quite a few being used each summer.

Hope that helps!
 
Oh wow! Thank you so much for this information. It is very good to know more about my canoe. You have been more than helpful.
 
Looking again, I have the idea I have the 'Trapper' rather than 'Algonquin'. I mis-measured the beam. The 34-3/8" was without the outwales! They would bring it to 35-5/8", so calling it 36". Also, as mentioned, this boat has a shoe keel.
Thanks again for your excellent assistance!
 
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