Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

My Old Town # 78967

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Zenith, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    To Benson or Mike...
    Back on Mar 2, 2018 I received excellent info on my Old Town # 78967 and my old Morris. Since then I have been stripping the varnish and bits of fiberglass from the inside and am about 3/4 done. The info I that I received did not mention the sailing rig that I have on this canoe, and it was mentioned that sailing rigs were sometimes added. This sounds OK but I started looking at the Data sheet that was sent to me, a copy below ....Oops... Well It does not seem to be copying...... But when I look at the cereal number at the top, it appears that their might be a number 1 after the 78967 at the top of the page... Since I do not know how many Old Towns were built, and I want to make sure that my info is as accurate as possible, I was wondering if either of you could look at the number at the top of the data sheet and see if there is indeed another number there. Since I cant seem to be able to copy the data sheet, I can refer you to our emails dated may 2 2018 under my tag Zenith. (At one time was building a Zenith 701 kit aircraft don't ya know....) Any additional info or input would be helpful. The numbers on the two stems read 78967 17 for the number of the craft and its length....
    Thank You.....
    John MacIver
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The build record for your canoe at http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?attachments/38875/ is very poorly scanned and appears to have a fair amount of writing and other stray marks at the top of the card. I believe that it is the correct one because it is surrounded by all of the other 7896x records. The writing on the top may indicate that it was damaged in shipment and returned. If it spent a few years back at the factory then it may have accumulated a few X marks in the top right corner of the card during the annual inventories. The back side of the card was not scanned so I will need to check the paper card on a future trip to the factory to verify this.

    The information at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/models.html and charts at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/oldtown_chart.html confirm that Old Town has issued well over a million serial numbers. It is not likely that you have number 789671 if you purchased it used about 35 years ago since their serial numbers were still under 300,000 at that point.

    Good luck with the restoration,

    Benson
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson,
    Thank you for your reply... That all makes sense.... If you could check the back of the card for me when you get back to the factory, that might tell us a little bit more. I am working at stripping the old varnish and bits of fiberglass from the inside of the Old Town and figure I can get some experience before tackling the Morris, which will require more work. The Morris has a number of cracked frames and is fiberglassed, so the glass needs to be removed before I can get to the ribs. Otherwise it is in very good condition...
    Thanks for the information and effort.
    John MacIver
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson,
    The build record says the canoe is an "H.W." model. what model is that?
    Thanks again...
    John MacIver
     
  5. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The short answer is that no one knows for sure what the HW was supposed to stand for since there is virtually no documentation for most of the various theories. Dan Miller's message at http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?t=1806 has a good summary of this. The oral tradition was that Henry Wickett was one of the first Old Town employees and the HW model was named for him as reported in Rollin and Jerry's book. Sue Audette's research for her book which came out later indicated that Henry Wickett never worked there and that his son Alfred Wickett was the first employee of the Old Town Canoe Company. Roger MacGregor's book came out even later and suggested that HW might have been for a Canadian designer named Henry Wicksteed who was a friend of J. R. Robertson. This last theory seems the least likely since the HW model was listed in the Indian Old Town Canoe Company catalog from 1901 before Robertson became involved in 1902. It is very popular with many Canadians though. Alfred's brother Humphrey Wickett also worked at Old Town for many years so this may be another possibility. The Old Town catalogs consistently described the HW model as being good for heavy water in the same way that the IF or Guide's model was described as being based on an Indian fishing canoe.

    Benson
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson,
    Thank you again for your excellent information. I am making a folder with all the info I get on each canoe as well as documenting what I am doing on the canoe. Your information fits with what I know about how things were done way back then. I worked for a while at Mystic Seaport in their model department, and spent a bunch of time at the museum seeing how they did things.... It makes sense on the heavy water aspect because the freeboard on this canoe is a good two inches higher than the Morris that I have.
    Thanks again
    John MacIver
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson and Mike,
    I am starting to document my work on the Old Town and Morris that I have been talking to you about, on my web site that can be found at http://johnmaciver.tripod.com/index.html . I am planning to remove one of the pages on my site, probably the 67 MGB page since it has been sold. What I am asking now is whether I can use the forum info that you guys have sent me as copy and paste as is, with or without your name or should I paraphrase what you have added, with or without your posts, or just paraphrase the info as coming from sources at the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, or not mention the source at all...... Once stuff gets out on the internet it is out there for good, and I do not want to put info on my site that you or the organization is not comfortable with... You can email with your thoughts on this mater to my email account if preferable at maciver.john@gmail.com . I guess it is best to look at the options prior to putting things on the net instead of wishing that I did things differently. These canoes are looking like a fun project and it might be fun as well to document how I am doing. My plan is to do something along the lines of what is on the page for my old Penn Yan project at http://johnmaciver.tripod.com/id2.html . Please let me know what you think......I don't want to step on anyone's toes....Don't ya know.......
    Thanks again for all of your help.
    John MacIver
     
  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    You are welcome to directly copy and paste the information that I provided and a credit to the WCHA would be appropriate. Thanks for asking,

    Benson
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson
    OK, Thanks again
    John MacIver
     
  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I was able to photograph both sides of the original paper record in color on Sunday. The suspected extra digit appears to be a stray pencil mark which is not connected to the serial number in ink as shown below. The back side of the card describes a very unusual situation. The canoe was returned to the factory on September 24th, 1923 for storage based on a letter from Abraham & Straus dated August 29th, 1923. The freight charges were $12.57. It was then shipped to Abraham & Straus at Brooklyn, New York on May 5th, 1924 in a railroad carload of new canoes. There is no mention of any repairs done at the factory over the winter. It is not clear why it was shipped from Vermont to Maine for storage rather than just sending it directly to Brooklyn. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_&_Straus for more information about Abraham & Straus. Another mystery,

    Benson



    78967.jpg 78967-b.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  11. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson,
    Thank you for your follow up information and on a Sunday to boot.... The new scans are in excellent condition and much better than the earlier sample. It appears that the canoe was in Watts's possession for only two months, so I wonder what happened there. Here is a canoe that he sounds like he could have easily been able to afford that he even had his last initial placed on the boat and then suddenly sent it back. I might have to look back in Brattleboro Vt history and find out if he died or something. The shipping from Vermont to Maine could indicate that the wife sent it back to the factory and then the factory decided to send it to Abraham & Straus. The winter in Maine could have been when the sailing rig was added which could have been requested by Abraham & Straus. I am sure that at a minimum it would have been re-painted to remove the "W" from the bow and stern. Thank you for your additional efforts. I now have a good base of info and a start for additional searching. I will let you know what I find out...The canoe did bounce around a bit since I bought it in Rhode Island. It was so long ago though and I was buying so many boats back then I cant remember exactly where.
    Thanks again for your help
    John MacIver
     

Share This Page