Trying to date and value a B.N. Morris canvas canoe


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We have a B.N. Morris canvas canoe that is in relatively good condition. It is 16 feet, heart-shaped short deck, with full floor rack. It has 3 cant ribs, and the usual medallion on the bow. The medallion indicates that it was sold by H&D Folsom Arms Co. at 314 Broadway, NY. The unusual aspect is the lack of tack holes or other evidence of a serial number on the stem or inner gunnel. Instead there is a stamped number on the inner gunnel (place a medallion should be) giving the number 2766. The canoe has spent its lifetime on the Upper St. Regis in the Adirondacks, except for its time in my garage in New Jersey.

Any help is most appreciated. Some photos attached.



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Hi Julie,

2766 should be 1905.........Kathie will weigh in I'm sure to confirm or refute.
The Folsom tag is not all that common. More common is a decal on the deck.
The absence of a brass tag is interesting and I'm sure that Kathy will add that to her Morris database.
What's equally interesting is that this canoe with three cant ribs pre-dates other canoes with two....very interesting.

That's a nice, solid and original Morris.
It's interesting how many of these pop up in Northern NY considering that Rushton was hammering away just a few miles North in Canton.
It would be interesting to know the provenance and if the camp has been in your family for a while.
The canoe (purchased in NY) was likely shipped by rail to Paul Smith's back in the day.
Mine came from Childwold, not too far away from there.
Last year I found another in Star Lake.
It's all good!
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Hi Julie--

You've obviously done some research and have figured-- as MGC says-- your canoe would date from about 1904/05 if the numbers stamped on the inwale correspond with the original serial number. Our research so far hasn't turned up any canoes with the serial number stamped on the canoe like that-- even if the tag is removed, no number is under it. I've thought the hulls must have been numbered with pencil or chalk because the brass plate would have gone on after rails or stem were varnished... stamping it into the wood like that would have been a good idea.

You can probably assume the numbers are the serial number--- the only other thing we could do is find out when Folsom was at that address to verify.

The canoes in the 2XXX series are interesting to me, because it seems that was the time Morris went from two cant ribs to three. We have canoes with serial numbers 28XX and 29XX that have only two pairs of cants, so I thought the change must have happened in the early 3XXXs. It may be that with "transitional times" we'll see some lower-numbered canoes with aspects of higher-numbered canoes.

Your canoe has the less-common "light interior". Looks wonderful-- thanks for the pictures. Love that Folsom tag!

The numbers stamped on your canoe seem to be the serial number (confirming 1904/05 build date). It seems Folsom began using this medallion before Morris was numbering canoes. There is a Morris in the database that appears never to have had a serial number, and the medallion is like yours-- with no numbers. Then, there are canoes numbered 36XX and 37XX that have the same medallion but with a number etched at the bottom. My guess is that yours-- and others that haven't come to our attention yet-- pre-dated the time when Folsom etched the number on the medallion and put the number on the gunwale. So it seems very likely the numbers are the serial number. Really neat when a canoe tells us something new!