Thompson canoe forms


Curious about Wooden Canoes
A while back someone was asking about THOMPSON BROS. BOAT MFG. CO. and their canoe forms. Sorry, I couldn't find that thread - so I am starting a new one. The question pondered was about the "Hiawatha" and "Indian" models and were they built on the same form. The answer per Pete Thompson is NO. Each Thompson canoe model had its own unique form that was used to make that model only.

Pete is son of Ray who was president and general manager of Thompson Bros. Boat from 1959-1966. Pete worked at Cruisers in the 1950s and moved to Thompson in 1959 at the change in ownership. Pete was the last Thompson family member to work for the company. Ray was son of Richard. After Richard's death in the flu epidemic in 1918, Ray was adopted by his uncle Peter and raised as his son. This Peter was the founder of Thompson in 1904.
Here are the marks on the ribs of my Thompson Indian (Peshtigo). Those marks are right where the stringers go on a Hiawatha with solid half ribs. Not to buck ol' Pete Thompson' word, but it sure made me think that the Indian and Hiawatha could have been built on the same form. Check out the Indian and Hiawatha pictures attached.


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Those marks look all too familiar, I have this feeling that the answer to whether the Hiawatha and Indian were built on the same or different forms is probably that both occurred, but it is just a supposition.....
I think I agree with you, Martin.
Again, not trying to knock Pete Thompson. (Pete was still in diapers when my canoe was built). I also thought it was possible that my Indian was actually a Hiawatha without half ribs since the stem line was the same on both with the sheer on the Indian about 2 inches lower. Also notable is the Cortland built Indian that I had.........same stem and sheer as the Hiawatha, but no half ribs.
Maybe Thompson had completely seperate forms/molds for each model, but that the form for the Indian and Hiawatha were exactly the same design and construction?
Hi Andreas,
I'm not an expert at Thompson canoes, as they are not common out here in the Pacific Northwest, but here is summarization of the issues:

It seems that the Indian and Hiawatha are very similar in hull shape and construction. The catalogs specifications indicate some minor differences between the two, Hiawatha has a depth to 13 inches, Indian has a depth of 12 1/2 inches, and some similar minor differences with widths. The main difference seems to be the Hiawatha had the half ribs with a stringer running along the bilges, the Indian had no half ribs. The form for building the Hiawatha has slots in it for the half rib stringers, the Indian form would not need this, as the Indian did not have half ribs (though it may be that through the years the names Indian and the Ranger may have been switched around a bit, the Ranger strong and sturdy model having the half ribs and stringer, but a very different hull shape from the Hiawatha and the Indian). Anyhow, the pictures Dave posted show that his "Indian" was built on a form with slots in it for the half rib stringers, which indicates that it was built on a Hiawatha form. Perhaps when the factory was busy and an open form was available, they used it, regardless if it the form was built for the Hiawatha and they needed to make an Indian...