Unk canoe serial # search

Paul Miller

Canoe Nut
This canoe looks like a few different canoes, most likely OT or Kenebeck.

Serial number 91050 - 17

Thanks for the help,


have added pictures showing a stem profile like a Morris, but no splayed stem. The canoe does have diamond bolts. The decks are 36" and 24" with a shaped king plank. At first I thought it could be an early OT Molitor, but I think the serial number is to high.


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The more I research this canoe the more I think it is an OT Molitor so please try and run the serial number as 71050 - 17 as well.

I saw an earlier post that showed one of these canoes with the rub rail covered the entire length with stem band material and this one does too.


The Old Town canoe with serial number 91050 is 16 foot long square stern so that probably isn't this canoe. The one with number 94050 is a 17 foot long, AA (top) grade, Molitor model with open mahogany gunwales, 24 and 36 inch decks in mahogany, mahogany trim, a keel, outside stems, a floor rack and a bang plate along the full length of the keel. It was built between March, 1927 and February, 1928. The original exterior paint color was bright red with a 3.5 inch cream border stripe and a half inch gold stripe with turned down ends. It shipped on March 6th, 1928 to Chicago, Ill. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link behind the thumbnail image attached below.

This scan and several hundred thousand others were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others as you probably know well. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will join or renew your membership 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.php to join.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. This does not appear to be unusual since number 94051 was another Molitor that shipped to New York. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Yours looks like a great one.



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Seat repair

The seat repair is neat. It looks like someone cared enough to craft a repair that was reversable and would allow the cane to be replaced later. (?)
Do you have any idea as to the number of early Molitors built by Old Town?

The partial database described at http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ shows 16 Molitors that were built between June of 1921 and May of 1925 in both 18 and 17 foot lengths. This sample size is a bit small for an accurate projection but it is lkely that several hundred were produced. It is less clear how many still exist. Good luck with the restoration,

Early vs. Later OT Molitors

I Benson,

I have attached a picture of the stem profile of my unrestored Molitor that was built in the early 20's and that stem profile is very different than the one on Peter's canoe in this post. I believe your Molitor had a similar stem profile.

The difference in the profile was one of the things that confused me, but now it appears those Molitors built in the late 1920's were different than those in the early 20's.

Any thoughts?

Next question; You mention 16 Molitors in the records up to May of 1925 but extrapolate that hunderds were built, is that because we are missing some build records?

How many of the late 20's Molitors show up in the records?

Thanks for your help,



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One reason canoe stem profiles often don't look the same is that they are usually photographed from different angles. Stems are also known to change shape slightly over time, especially during repairs and restorations. The bow and stern stems on my 1936 Otca were probably both created on the same form and yet two differently shaped forms were required to accurately bend replacement outside stems for it a few years ago.

It is possible that Old Town's Molitor stem form was changed during the 1920s. A comparative analysis of the stem profiles on all known Old Town Molitors from this era would be interesting but there probably aren't enough examples available to yield conclusive results. I have not noticed any dramatic differences in the ones that I have seen.

Well over 200,000 Old Town build records have been electronically scanned. Some records are probably missing but this group appears to be a reasonably complete record of the production from May, 1906 through November, 1975. Over 14,000 of these have been manually typed into a database which makes this information easier to search and analyze. This somewhat random sample subset is less than seven percent of the total but it does provide a limited ability to extrapolate and make some guesses about the total population. An example of this is shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/models.html but the accuracies of these estimates are limited by the small sample sizes. The messages at http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?t=4722 have some more information about this topic.

Therefore, I don't know exactly how many Molitors were built in the 1920s and would have to manually search through over 40,000 build records to count them. There are 16 which appear in the database but this is a small fraction of the total so my guess is that there were several hundred made.

Let me know if this doesn't answer your question or if you would like more details. Thanks,

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adding a bit

Missed this discussion, which happened when I was in the hospital I think. Anyway, I've been keeping track of the older version OT Molitor (I distinguish the two Molitors as "original Molitor" and "modern Molitor" in my own records) whenever I run into them while looking through the build records. I searched through the earlier part of the 1920s records when I was writing the article on C.J. Molitor. I came up with 33 Molitors shipped to C.J. Molitor (including one shipped to him in 1923, after he left the canoe business) and 89 shipped to other buyers for a total of 122 Molitors. I don't recall how far into the records I went before my eyes warned me to stop... but I'll look at the records I found and put them in order and pick up from where I left off.