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

Serial Number search

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Ronald Garst, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. Ronald Garst

    Ronald Garst Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I'm looking for information on an Old Town Canoe (I think the model # is 4507???) with a Serial Number of 167296. On the side of the canoe is written Old Town Canoe in 4" letters spread out over 4'. The canvas is a dark green. Two cane seats with one thwart (not sure what the brace in the middle of the canoe is called). I found an old bill of sale (partial and faded) which looks like it was delivered to ____, Colorado...but that is about all I can read. Hope I didn't post too much information, not for sure how much information is needed. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Ron
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Welcome, the Old Town canoe with serial number 167296 is a 15 foot long, fifty pound model with a keel and a bang plate along the full length of the keel. It was built between February and May, 1958. The original exterior paint color was dark green with Old Town Canoe on each side in gold script letters. It shipped on June 6th, 1958 to Wheat Ridge near Denver, Colorado. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

    167296.jpg

    This scan and several hundred thousand others 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 the canoe. The order number was 4507. Can you post some pictures of the lettering on the side? Two similar canoes were paddled from Colorado to Maine the year before as documented in a Life Magazine article published on June 23rd, 1958 and shown below. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

    Benson


    Life-a.jpg OTC.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
    monkitoucher and Ronald Garst like this.
  3. OP
    OP
    Ronald Garst

    Ronald Garst Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank very much for the surprisingly fast reply and information. I saw this canoe for sale while driving around in Colorado Springs, the wood ribs are what caught my eye. The story behind the canoe checks out...Stan (name on the build order) is the brother of the gentlemen I (just) bought it from. I hope $700 was a good price for such a beautiful canoe (worth it for me, anyway). I have so many questions, but have so little knowledge of wood canoes. I will collect my thoughts and find the appropriate forum to ask the right, coherent, questions.

    Thank you very much, and I will look more into WCHA.
    Ron
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Ronald Garst

    Ronald Garst Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I apologize for now answering your question about the photos. Yes, once I get the canoe home I will take a picture of the "gold script letters" on the side and post them. The lettering is in pretty good shape. The canvas has some cracking, but no holes or gashes - not really even faded (the gentlemen said it had been left alone in a garage for the last 30+ years). The inside of the canoe looks aged (varnish yellowed somewhat) but is in incredible condition (the whole reason I bought it). I'll add a picture of that as well. I want to use it as a display piece in my home...but I kind of want to take it out on the lake as well. The gist of my future question will be whether to restore the outside (the inside looks perfect) and loose the gold script lettering, or leave it alone as a beautiful display piece in my home? I'll come up with a better question...that one is too subjective and impossible to answer.

    Thank You,
    Ron
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Ronald Garst

    Ronald Garst Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson,
    You, or someone might find this interesting. The attached pictures you sent are exactly what the lettering looks like on the side of the canoe. The gentlemen who sold it to me (Ben) said his brother (Stan - the name on the build order) floated down the Arkansas River (started out by Canon City, Colorado) to the Mississippi River and was picked up by his dad in Louisiana weeks later (the trip was in the summer of 1959). Oh by the way, Stan was 17 years old at the time and did the trip by himself. I don't have any other information, like how did he get supplies, where did he stay, his parents let him do that alone???, etc. I was too focused on the canoe. But, Ben is sending me the original "patch kit" (not sure what that is or looks like) and some correspondence (Ben said) from the president of Old Town Canoe company (what about, I do not know). I will ask a few more questions of Ben and post the answers...if it is interesting to anyone. (For all I know, Stan could still be alive....).

    Ron
     
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The $700 price seems reasonable depending on the condition. See https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/57/ for more information about how to value a canoe like this. I would be interested in seeing more of the Old Town correspondence and other information that goes with this canoe. A water test is usually the first step to see if the canvas needs to be replaced. See https://books.google.com/books?id=zlMEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA60&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false if you want to read the article about the trip of two other similar canoes.

    Benson
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Ronald Garst

    Ronald Garst Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson,

    Thanks again for the interesting articles and pictures. As soon as I receive the letters from Ben, I'll post them along with some pictures (my guess, I'll probably receive them in about a week).
    Ron
     
  8. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    This story sounds like a great article for the Journal... just sayin'...
     
    Benson Gray and Ronald Garst like this.
  9. OP
    OP
    Ronald Garst

    Ronald Garst Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson,

    Attached are two scans (.pdf) of the letters of correspondence between Stan Nikkel (name on the 1958 build order) and D. Gray (sales manger for O.T.C.). Ben (the brother of Stan) gave me the original "patch kit" (round cylinder containing canvas, two smaller containers of different sizes of brass nails, canoe glues, paint, etc.) and some various correspondence between Stan and O.T.C. Notice in one of the letters from O.T.C. (dated: May 21, 1958) it mentions a couple of names from the trip in the LIFE Magazine article you sent me (Gerald Hewey = Jerry Hewey, Bill Confoy). Apparently, O.T.C. has a brochure about the four men's trip which came out before the LIFE Magazine story of the four men's trip. Of the other letters Ben gave me, they are all about payment and such ($150) - nothing all that interesting. Ben said he was pretty sure he still had some other letters between O.T.C., Hewey, and Stan reference the trip down to the Gulf of Mexico.

    A little more information on the story: The trip wasn't on the Arkansas River, it was on the Platte River at the same place where the four men from the LIFE magazine article began. The goal was to get to the Mississippi River like the four men did, but go South to the Gulf instead of North. Stan did take-off and made it to ???? but I don't he think made it all the way to the Gulf...at least not by himself (if he made it at all). There is some story about at one point his grandparents had to come to his rescue at 2:eek:o in the morning and had to beat a lot of bush to get him out, but Ben wasn't sure of all the details...just that his grandparents weren't happy. Stan now lives in Maine and I just sent him some photos (via my phone) of the canoe at my house (Ben said Stan wanted to see them). Apparently, Stan has some photos of the canoe when it arrived ("...looked like a huge burlap cocoon...") and from the trip. Ben told me some other information on why the gold Old Town Canoe lettering was put on the side and...well...maybe...lets just say in my message to Stan I asked some verifying information. Ben said he was only 3 or 4 at the time and doesn't remember all the details of the events ~ 60 years ago (Stan, I think was 16 at the time of these letters and 17 at the time of the trip???). I'm waiting a reply from Stan (maybe he will, maybe he won't). There might be some thing else interesting here, or it might be just the exaggerated memories of a boy about his idealized older brother?? If I get a response with anything interesting, I'll post it. I'll post pictures of the canoe soon (waiting for the pictures to download from my phone to the computer).

    Interesting, the connection between the pictures/article you posted here from LIFE Magazine and the guy I bought the canoe from.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. OP
    OP
    Ronald Garst

    Ronald Garst Curious about Wooden Canoes

Share This Page