Looking for some history on my Old Town

Ferd Wagner

New Member
I have inherited my great grandfathers Old Town. I took many trips in it over the years and it means a lot to me. I wanted to find out about it's production history and it's model specs. It is a 15ft long, with a serial # of 15 57727 stamped into the stems. Can anyone help me learn more about the past of this canoe? Much thanks in advance. Cheers!:)
Ferd, The Old Town canoe with serial number 57727 is a 15 foot long, CS grade, 50 # model with open spruce gunwales, birch decks, thwarts and seats. It has a keel and was built between March, 1920 and May, 1920. The original exterior paint color was dark green. It was shipped to Milwaukee, WI on May 13, 1920. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

This scan was created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others as you probably know well. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/join.html to join.

It is possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.


  • 37928.GIF
    57.2 KB · Views: 244
Thank you!

Thanks Al for the quick reply, that really made my day. Where would it have been made? What is CS grade? and what does 50 # model mean? Also is there a name for this model? Cheers!
Ferd: The canoe would have been made in Old Town, Maine. CS grade stands for "common sense" considered to be the middle of three grades Old Town made. The basic was the "guides special" a functional craft with heavy canvas without any frills as the name would imply. CS was the middle everyday grade, functional for the common man. The highest grade was "AA" trimmed in mahogany as a "high end" canoe. The contrast of woods between the planking/ribs and gunnels, seats, decks and thwarts can be striking.

50# or "light canoe" is the model. OT recognized the need to produce a lighter canoe in 1905. Your canoe (I currently am restoring one) has slightly thinner planking and ribs, the canvas was #10 in an attempt to reduce weight.

If you are interested in more of this history get a copy of "The Old Town Canoe Company, Our First Hundred Years" from Sue Audette and Dave Baker. An excellent book sold in the WCHA store online. - Al