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Old Town Info Needed

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Michael Grace, Jan 11, 2019 at 8:56 AM.

  1. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Looking for info on what I believe is Old Town # 71519, 77519, or 77579. It appears to be a 16' with floor rack and outside stems, possibly AA grade and it appears to have once had sponsons. Thanks very much.
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The records for these three numbers show 17 foot long canoes. Only one is an AA grade and none of them have outside stems or sponsons as shown in the links below. Can you supply pictures of the numbers from each end and the deck? Thanks,

    Benson


    77579.jpg 77519.jpg 71519.jpg
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Thanks Benson. I should have included photos earlier.
    OT?.jpg serial number a.jpg serial number b.jpg
     
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    My guess is that you have the Old Town canoe with serial number 111519. This is a 16 foot long, AA (or top) grade, HW (Heavy Water) model with red Western cedar planking, open mahogany gunwales, mahogany decks, mahogany thwarts, mahogany seats, a keel, outside stems, a floor rack, and sponsons. It was built between March, 1932 and August, 1933. The original exterior paint color was dark green. It shipped on July 3rd, 1934 to Pontiac, Michigan. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

    111519.jpg

    This scan and several hundred thousand more 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. Your donations and lifetime membership to the WCHA are much appreciated.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Good luck with the restoration,

    Benson
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    That's gotta be it. The idea of "7" just got stuck in my mind. And I saw what appeared to be a "1" up front, but it didn't make sense as a "177xxx". Thanks Benson!
     
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The ones and sevens along with threes and eights are frequently confused in serial numbers. The image below may be useful if you ever need help distinguishing these digits in the future.

    Benson



    138718.jpg
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Thank you Benson. The serial number image you posted is a good one for comparison of digits. Unfortunately I don't have this canoe in front of me, the "feet" of the ones aren't really visible in the photos, and the first digit is invisible in one of the photos.

    Recapping information from a variety of posts on these forums, to get a good read on a serial number:
    - clean the stem of dust and debris
    - use a low-angle light to get a shadow on the stamped digits
    - apply stripper and carefully remove varnish (don't aggressively sand the stem or you risk obliterating the number)
    - use pencil and paper to do a rubbing of the serial number
     
  8. T J Dunn

    T J Dunn New Member

    Can I get some assistance, please. I have tried in vain to get data about my Old Town wooden/green canvas canoe with serial number 6924. It is 16 ft green canvas and wood. Much appreciated.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    TJ - we should add that photos really help. There were many different wooden canoe manufacturers over the years, and some of them used very similar serial number formats and fonts. Old Town is perhaps the most recognized name in wooden canoes (at least in the US), so what's often believed to be an Old Town turns out to be built by another maker. A four-digit serial number could be a very early Old Town, but as is often seen in these forums, a 4-digit number often turns out to be from another maker.

    Photos will provide a much better chance of accurate identification because even subtle differences in construction are key to identifying both the manufacturer and model from a given manufacturer. Best images include ones that show:
    - the serial number itself (see how this help my canoe ID above)
    - decks
    - thwarts
    - profile of the bow and stern of the canoe
    - seats
    - floor of the canoe

    In the photo of the canoe above, we can see the relative length of decks and the shape of the deck cutout, the style of seats, the shape and spacing of the thwarts, the mechanism of attaching seats and thwarts to the gunwales, the fact that the gunwales are "open" rather than "closed", tell-tale screw holes where sponsons were once attached, a floor rack and its ghost in the canoe's finish, and other features that point to this particular canoe being likely an Old Town from the 1920s to 1930s (as it turned out to be). Color of a canoe might be original but that's one of the easiest and most common changes to old canoes, so exterior color is often not key in identification.

    Looking forward to seeing your canoe #6924 identified.

    Michael
     
  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Welcome, the Old Town canoe with serial number 6924 is a 16 foot long, CS (Common Sense or middle) grade, HW (Heavy Water) model with red western cedar planking, closed spruce gunwales, maple decks, maple thwarts, maple seats, spruce outside finish rails, and a floor rack. It was built in June, 1907. The original exterior paint color was dark green. It was shipped on June 29th, 1907 to Brooklyn, New York. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

    6924.jpg

    This scan and several hundred thousand more were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will donate, join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/about-wcha to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/store/membership to join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe as Michael mentioned. Some pictures would help a lot. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

    Benson
     
  11. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    TJ, it's also possible that the first couple of digits were missed... it could be 116924, as an example. This has happened more than a few times over the years! Sometimes those 1s get obfuscated by time... Pictures as described above are invaluable!
     

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