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i have a beautifully restored old towne or carleton canoe. i bought it in new york in the 70's (really beat up it had ten broken ribs), stored it in a friend's barn until we moved to vermont in 2001. ralph a canoe repairer, restorer, and canoe enthusiast restored the canoe. it's gorgeous! ralph thinks it's a carleton. i'd love to find the history on it. i know it's old and i'm sure it was made around 1913. inscribed on a small medallion is "Abercrombie and Fitch" on the bow of the canoe. A&F's address is also on the medallion "53 55 57 w 34 st. this was just off fifth ave in nyc. later in 1917 they moved to madison ave. the canoe is really unusual because its got sponsons on the sides which really give it character. it's 16 ft. long, and has serial # 8944. when i get the digital pictures in my computer i'll post some picutures if anyone is interested. if anyone has an idea which company made canoes for A&F at this time it would be greatly appreciated.
thank you,
alan heldl
The Old Town canoe with serial number 8944 is 17 feet long with no sponsons. My guess is that Ralph was correct and you have a Carleton canoe. The Carleton canoe with serial number 8944 is a 16 foot long, CS grade, Carleton model with western red cedar planking, closed spruce gunwales, birch decks, birch trim, a keel and sponsons. It was built between February and May, 1912. The original exterior paint color was probably dark green with "Will O' The Wisp" on the right and left bow. It shipped on May 5th, 1914 to Abercrombie and Fitch at 53 West 53rd Street in New York City. (Macy's sold the Old Town line at this time so Abercrombie sold the Carleton line.) A scan of this build record can be found by following the link under the thumbnail image attached below.

These scans 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 if you want more details. I hope that you will join or contribute to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to join.

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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dear benson,
thank you so much for the history! you have been so helpful i could not bring myself not to join. wow you actually found a copy of the origonal shipping order!
regards, alan held
You are most welcome and thanks for joining the WCHA. The Annual WCHA Assembly is happening this week as described at if you are interested and have a chance to swing by Paul Smiths, New York.

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