Old Town (We Think) S/N 0080 17


New Member
This canoe was owned by my wife's grandfather, and ultimately handed down to her. She used it 1961-76 on Wanaksink Lake in the Catskill Mountains It has been in the barn since then. She had been told as a child that it was an Old Town but???? This would be an really early number (0080 17) if so. WE only found it on one of the stems. All the canvas is off but for a patch of red which she tells me was the color when she was a kid. The seats were re-caned in 76 and never used. The s/n was hard to read but it does appear that it is only the 4 digits long. Any idea what this canoe is?
S.n. 0080 17

Perhaps Kathy can help you better with this one. The lowest Old Town serial number in the database is 1604, and none of them starts with a zero. I checked the build record for s. n. 8017, just in case, which was a 16-foot Charles River canoe shipped in 1908 to Kansas City, Missouri, that was originally dark green. So that's unlikely to be your canoe. The lowest Carleton serial number in the database is 2235, and again, none started with zero.

It would help a lot if you could post some photos of the canoe, showing especially the decks, the gunwales, the bow shape, and any other distinguishing features.

A picture would help. Old Town serial numbers don't begin with a zero, but perhaps there's a missing "1" (or another digit?). Even if it was only four digits, many of the very early old Town records don't exist. I can give you the record for 10080, but please make sure the details match your canoe... and if you're unfamiliar with canoe-lingo, pictures would help others here decide if this record matches.

Old Town 10080 is a 17 foot CS (common sense, or middle) grade HW model canoe with red Western cedar planking, CLOSED spruce gunwales, and oak decks, thwarts, and seat frames. It was fitted with a keel and painted dark green, then shipped to Milwaukee, WI, on February 15, 1909. The scan of this record is attached below-- click on it to get a larger image.

This is an older Old Town, and has closed gunwales... as most wood/canvas canoes have open gunwales, this may help you decide if what you have fits this record. The wood species of the trim (oak) would help too. Also, it seems most canoes don't venture too far from their original destination, so if Milwaukee isn't in your general vicinity, this fact could rule out this record.

It can be useful to take a picture of the serial number and post here, with pictures of the deck and the profile of the bow or stern and also of the interior, showing the seat and thwart-style.

Many folks think any wood/canvas canoe is an Old Town--- just as anything you blow your nose on is a Kleenex, it can be a generic term for a canvas-covered canoe. You might look at www.dragonflycanoe.com/id/ and scroll to the left for "Old Town" to see if the deck styles shown match your canoe. The canoe with the record posted here would have the standard Old Town short deck, in oak... it would look similar to the one at the top of that dragonfly page.

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 http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ 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 http://www.wcha.org/wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/join.php to renew.

I hope this helps!



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S/n 0080 17

Thanks for the quick response and info. This canoe has been tucked into the 2nd floor of an old barn and almost fills it on the diagonal. We flipped it partially over onto on side and were able to take some photos none great. It soundlike we should somehow get this sitting like a boat! And will try to do that tomorrow. I am attaching a few photos but not sure if they come to you big enough to see any detail. My first time trying this on your site. If not I can email them direct if you wish. After we flip the canoe I'll see what detail there is The boat is 17' by 34 with a wide flat bottom and flooring strips that run the length of the boat. I round up details and photos and measure distance between the boards tomorrow. Thanks again,



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Your canoe doesn't have Old Town decks... so, pictures have taken that piece off of the plate! More pictures will help... but short-deck styles can give us a list to go by. There are a few builders I can think of that used a deck similar to this one-- an example being Penn Yan-- but there are others as well.

It appears the ribs taper toward the gunwales... does that seem to be the case?

I like mysteries, because it's where I tend to learn the most!

S/n 0082 17

Hello again. Well we flipped it intact. And yes the ribs do taper toward the gunwales. They are about 2" wide at the floor and taper to about 1 1/4" at gunwale. We verified that the number stated is correct and reads the same on both stems Nearly impossible to photo clearly. Here are several more photos I hope will help. My wife is calling family members to see if a photo of the boat can be found but...

Thanks again.



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S/n 0080 17

Kathy suggested that I look at Dragonfly Canoe and search for a deck similar to ours. Penn Yan was somewhat similar but the S/N did not run in the same sequences. Meraco looked similar but no other clue and Pererborough was the only company with low serial numbers but they did not start with 00. There were similarities in appearance to Huron Canoes. There were many manufacturers that worked there and the general deck shape at Huron was the best lead? Any other hints?

Thanks Michael