Old Town Wooden Canoe Production
Estimates by Model


The discovery of an old wooden canoe frequently leads to a question about how many of this model were made. The top twenty five most popular wooden canoe models from the Old Town Canoe Company are listed below. These estimated totals are based on the information from the WCHA's Build Record Archive Project. These records are only from 1905 to 1979 so information before and after those dates could not be included easily.

Some interesting changes in the economics of canoe production are shown by this analysis. There were an estimated 5072 examples of the eighteen foot Charles River model built in the twenty two years between 1906 and 1927 with an average of 231 per year. There were an estimated 4026 examples of the sixteen foot FG (fiberglass) model built in the ten years between 1966 and 1975 with an average of 403 per year. There were an estimated 5085 examples of the sixteen foot ABS plastic Chipewyan model built in the four years between 1972 and 1975 with an average of 1271 per year. More information about the Archive Project can be found at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/.

The news release from the Old Town Canoe Company about their millionth canoe offers some additional perspectives comparing canoe and kayak production. Old Town issued about 95,000 serial numbers in the 23 years between 1906 and 1929. This represents about 4,130 wooden canoes per year. It took about 45 years to issue the next 100,000 serial numbers. This was a mixture of canoes and boats in wood and plastics averaging about 2,222 units per year. They issued serial number 500,000 in 1995. These were primarily plastic canoes averaging 14,286 per year. Their millionth serial number was issued in 2003. They are focused on plastic kayaks now and this represents an average of 62,500 per year.


Old Town Wooden Canoe Production Estimates Between 1905 and 1979 by Model
Rank Model Name Length
in Feet
Estimated
Production
Oldest
Database Entry
Newest
Database Entry
Elapsed
Years
Average
per Year
1 HW (Heavy Water) 17 15770 1905 1956 52 303
2 HW (Heavy Water) 16 15042 1905 1955 51 295
3 Yankee 16 13909 1921 1957 37 376
4 Otca 17 12718 1911 1972 62 205
5 Otca 16 9486 1909 1973 65 146
6 Charles River 17 9435 1905 1929 25 377
7 HW (Heavy Water) 18 9429 1905 1957 53 178
8 Charles River 16 9275 1905 1927 23 403
9 Otca 18 8530 1912 1970 59 145
10 Guide's Special 18 7857 1919 1972 54 145
11 Fifty Pound 15 6999 1911 1966 56 125
12 IF (Indian Fishing) 18 6446 1908 1921 14 460
13 Charles River 18 5072 1906 1927 22 231
14 Ideal 17 3260 1913 1931 19 172
15 Guide's Special 20 2649 1920 1970 51 52
16 HW (Heavy Water) 15 2442 1905 1923 19 129
17 Fifty Pound 13 1587 1928 1966 39 41
18 Guide's Special 16 1475 1937 1979 43 343
19 XX (early Otca) 18 1144 1909 1910 2 572
20 Fifty Pound 11 991 1927 1967 41 24
21 Ideal 18 730 1911 1932 22 33
22 Ideal 16 707 1913 1923 11 64
23 Charles River 15 667 1906 1911 6 111
24 War Canoe 25 622 1913 1960 48 13
25 Livery 16 575 1913 1920 8 57
26 IF (Indian Fishing) 20 471 1905 1923 19 25
27 Lightweight 15 401 1966 1972 7 57
28 Low end HW (Heavy Water) 16 254 1940 1954 15 17
29 Molitor 17 221 1922 1969 48 5
30 Trapper 15 218 1967 1972 6 36
31 Ojibway 15 171 1942 1948 7 24
32 XX (early Otca) 16 138 1906 1910 5 28
33 XX (early Otca) 17 118 1906 1910 5 24
34 War Canoe 34 43 1906 1927 22 2
35 XX (early Otca) 20 26 1906 1910 4 6

1905 Models

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