S/N 16085 Canoe


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I'm restoring a 15' 5" wood & Canvas canoe my dad bought used in 1929. I have only 2 clues as to its origin --

A - Just located serial number 16085 stamped on the stem.
B - The initials W V L are hand painted on the underside of the thwart and both decks. Must have been done by the builder??

Also, the canoe originally had the "Greek Ends" stripe under its gunwales - commonly found on Old Towne canoes.

Any information as to the origin and age of this canoe, and/or who W V L might have been, would be most appreciated.

Just checked the Old Town and Carleton records with the following results:

OT #16085...shipped on 3/27/1911 to Beloit, Wisconsin as a 17' HW in CS (common sense)grade with spruce gunwales and ash seats, thwarts and decks. The original color was dark green.

Carleton #16085...shipped on 3/30/1922 to Philadelphia, PA., as a 17' Carleton in CS grade with spruce gunwales and birch decks, seats and thwarts. The original color was orange with a 2" black stripe.

Since your length does not match either of these you may want to double check or post pic's to help identify this canoe or it may be another manufacturer...pic's would really help.

If not already a member, please consider joining the WCHA to help support this and other services (restoration information) to ultimately help get your Dad's canoe back in the water.

Build records attached for your review.

Ric Altfather


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Sn 16085

Thanks Ric -

That confims my suspicion that the canoe is not an Old Town, and pretty much eliminates Carelton as well. I did double-check the length -- it's actually more like 15' 2" measured overall amidships. The original color was dark green, and it had a 1" white stripe just below the gunwales, terminating in a Greek square coil at either end. I'll try to find a picture of it as it was then.

I've got quite a few pictures of it in various stages of the work I'm doing -- if you let me know what would be the most helpful views I can send some along. At this point it's looking pretty sad.

I'm pretty sure the ribs are white cedar, the planking is red cedar, the gunwales (both) seem to be spruce (they're pretty soft now), and the decks, thwart and seats might be oak or ash.

I'm curious about the W V L initials, which from their locations almost had to be added by the builder. Although I suppose that's not much of a clue, since any major manufacturer would have had any number of master builders.

My dad bought the canoe in 1929 from a canoe rental agency at Genesee Valley Park here in Rochester, so it was of unknown age when he bought it. I'm guessing it might have been 10-15 years old at that time.

I'm definitely going to become a member of WCHA -- looks like a great resource! BTW, the build record from Old Town was too small to read -- the Carelton record came through just fine.

Thanks again!

There is a Kennebec canoe with the serial number 16085 that is a 15' Kennebec model. It was planked by Murray and Roundy on 3/25/1922, canvassed by Tuttle and filled by Thibideau the same day. It was railed on 4/8/1922 by Mansell. And here is the kicker... It was one of at least 35 15' Kennebec model canoes shipped to Wm. V. Long in Rochester, NY, on April 24, 1922 (additional canoes may have been shipped, if so, they are elsewhere in the Kennebec ledgers). None of these canoes was apparently painted at the factory.

Looks like your painted initials are the owner mark of a Rochester livery.


Thanks Dan!

That's clearly the canoe all right. Thanks so much for your research. Would it be possible to get a copy of the build record?