OT 1912 MC model, CS grade


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I had Old Town research canoe serial number 20606 16 and the above is the model type they came up with from their records. However, this model doesn't appear in their 1912 catalogue and they themselves are perplexed as to what the "MC" designation means. They are having a local historian research this further but originally suspected it meant "Morris Canoe" as this was a company that contracted out a small number of orders to OT when their own factory burned down. However, there is some question about dates matching.

Has anyone ever come across this MC model designation and know what it stands for?
I have traded a number of messages today with Sue Audette and Jessica LaBree of Old Town Canoe about your canoe as shown in the attached images below. My guess is that this is another one of the undocumented and custom models that Old Town built over the years. The other models like this have included the: XX, Molitor, Sail Sled, Weldwood, Ojibway, etc.

These scans 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/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will join or contribute 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 unlikely that Old Town was working closely enough with Morris in 1912 for MC to have stood for Morris Canoe. His factory burned in January, 1920 and all of the recorded examples of his collaboration with the Old Town Canoe Company date from after that time. MC could have stood for Morgan Canoe or Montreal Canoe since both known examples shipped the Henry Morgan Company in Montreal, Canada.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if the description doesn't match your canoe. Does your canoe have an Old Town nameplate on the bow deck? There is no record of this serial number being issued by the Carleton or Kennebec Canoe Companies. Can you post the dimensions and some pictures so we could see if it may have been created by another canoe company? It would be particularly interesting to see the "pictures of it going back to the Model T era" that you mentioned in your previous message to Old Town. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Thanks,



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Thanks Benson. The production record matches the canoe. Myself and the gentleman restoring it have verified that that the various types of wood match and we've even seen the dark green colour in a small area even though the original canvas was removed years ago. The bow deck has the OT decal on it although it's tough to read in spots. The fact that it was shipped to Montreal makes sense as the lake that it was used on is just to the west of Montreal. I don't have any digital pictures handy and the Model T one I mentioned is with my mother in Cornwall - just west of Montreal. I'll be visiting her next weekend and will get the photo, scan it and forward it to you later. As for dimensions, I'll have to get those later also. I did measured the length and it is 16 ft. I'll measure the beam, depth, etc when I get a chance to see Evert (the restorer) in the next few weeks. I'll also take a digital picture of it in it's current unrestored state.

Incidently, do you know if OT ever incorporated the name of the purchaser in the model type? I mentioned this history and puzzle to my wife last night and she wondered if the MC might stand for McRae - the original owner. He was a well known carpenter and although I only knew him briefly as a boy, I can just imagine him getting his finger in the design and selection of wood.

The information in the images listed below may help you determine the model whose form was used as the basis for your canoe.
http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/dimens-1.gif http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/hull-x-s.gif
It was probably built on an HW or Otca form so the most difficult distinction may be the roundness of the bottom. More images and information like this is available at http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/cdrom.htm on the Complete Old Town Canoe Company Catalog Collection CD.

The Old Town Molitor model is believed to have been named for C. J. Molitor who rented and sold canoes in the Belle Isle area near Detroit. He was known for purchasing fancy canoes from Morris with three foot bow decks, two foot stern decks, extended stems, and lots of mahogany trim. These were supplied by Old Town when Morris started working there after his own factory burned.

It is not likely that your canoe model was named after Mr. McRae since his name was not mentioned on the original build record. It is also interesting that there is nothing on the build record that would indicate what was unusual enough about these canoes to cause Old Town to give them a whole new model name.

Please post the pictures and dimensions here when you get a chance. Thanks,

Benson, I can't believe it's been 16 years since I last posted! The canoe has now been restored and attached are a few photos. I am thinking of selling and in my research came across the following article on another 2012 MC model;

1912 Model MC Old Town Canoe, serial number 20409 16
This canoe was purchased in 1912 by 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford Northumberland from Henry Morgan and Co Department Store in Montreal. The canoe was used on the lake at Doxford Hall and stored on the rafters of the stables.
The canoe was made in 1912 and is a model MC of which only a handful were made and all on a model OTCA former. The canoe is fast wide flat and stable; a rare combination. It is very probably the sole remaining model MC.

Well it's not "the sole remaining model" but there may only be the two of them left. Later I will also post the 1930 photos I have of the canoe in Lake St Francis west of Montreal.


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John, could you cite the article source?
Here's one for you. There was a Michael Cyr, a paddle maker, who lived on Chesuncook...;) Perhaps it's an MC model name for him.