Old Town Cedar Canvas age etc.

John Gosier

New Member
I just found this site a week ago, and joined WCHA today. Appreciate what you do for the craft (art?) of wooden canoes. My neighbor just gave me
:) his cedar canvas Old Town. The serial # is 16 8900 . Could you please give me dates, etc. as I have seen on this site for others. Thanks again!
John - Welcome to WCHA, We are very glad to hear you have joined.

I'm afraid you may have to take another look at the numbers. The Old Town format was usually a sequential number (4-6 digits) followed by a two digit number that indicated the length of the canoe. Occasionaly it was reversed, but not often.

8900 - is a 17' HW in CS grade with sponsons, a rowing seat, oarlocks, pennent pole sockets. It was built in 1908. Since your number had a 16 and a space - that might not be it. Make sure of the length and look for evidence of the above extras. Build Record attached.

In case you printed the whole serial number, I also checked 168900 - it was an 8 foot dingy. Pretty sure that is not the boat in question!

It may be a Carleton Canoe, however. Their #8900 was a 16' CS (Common Sense) grade canoe with spruce rails, ash decks, seats and thwarts. It was painted Dark Red and shipped to Rochester, NY in May of 1912. That build record is attached. Check the wood species and take a look at Dan Millers Dragonfly Canoe description of a Carleton at http://dragonflycanoe.com/id/index.html compare it to an Old Town in the same pages - there are deck shape differences and a bow carry thwart that may indicate a Carleton.

Look at both stems for the number - shine a light at low angle to read the number. If the numbers are full of accumulated crud - take a soft brush, like a toothbrush (an old one or your wife's) and a mild cleaner and water - try to clean it out. You may also try to do a rubbing, like is done on old gravestones to get the number. Take a piece of paper, place it over the stem and lightly rub with a crayon or charcoal.

Post some pictures of the profile, deck and thwart shapes. I'm sure we can help find out what this boat really is - if not, you will at least have a number of educated guesses!

Post back here with your results.

Scans of approximately 210,000 records were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. Additional information about the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. Please join WCHA or make a tax deductable contribution 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. If you are already a WCHA member, THANK YOU!

It is also 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.


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follow up on Old Town / Carleton canoe ID

Hello Mike... Last week you were kind enough to reply to questions about an old cedar canvas canoe my neighbor gave me last month. I thought it was an Old Town, but based on the serial number 16 8900, you felt that it was a Carleton. I checked the attached web page, and found a photo that looks like my canoe. Same decks and carry handles, etc. I tried to email you three photos of the decks, serial #, and profile, but was denied as the pictures were 1.2mb, would not attach. I did however, send them to WCHA if that is any help. I found the sales/manufacturing slips to be very interesting. Thank you so much for your help. Now to pursue help in restoringthe gunwales. Also, I saw on your profile that you work for the DEC...my brother in law works as a biologist Region 6 in Watertown- Mark Craig. Thanks again for the research ...John Gosier