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Unknown Thompson Canoe - Early

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by JonE, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. JonE

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    My dad bought a Thompson Canoe up in Sturgeon Bay, back in 1939. It was old then. My guess is that it is pre-WWI. But could be as late as 1925. I am confused because he had always called it a Hiawatha. Yet it has no half ribs in the bottom of the canoe. It is a 16 footer and has all the traditional Thompson characteristics.

    Can anyone give me any further information? It is going through the second restoration under my ownership.

    By the way, I am not Patricia. I am Jon. For some reason it picked up my wife's name.

    Here are some pics:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. OP
    OP
    JonE

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    After doing some research, I now believe that the canoe is a Ranger, not a Hiawatha. Which is consistent with the setup. The boat came with thwarts, not seats. And my father once told me that he bought the canoe from a camp and it was used heavily and pretty beat up when he bought it. Those camps would not have seats in the canoes because they would need replacement often. But using thwarts only, the canoes were more durable. Can anyone give me a better idea of the age of the canoe?
     
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

  4. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    The 1st year the Ranger was in the catalogs was 1937 (to 1947), but it had the traditional high end shape then, (think Old Town)
    the flat guide style end shape was 1st offered in 1949.

    If you have any images showing the shear that would be helpful. I can't tell what shape style the ends are from the 2 pics.

    Canoes pre 1922 generally have a high sharp shear at the end, I don't see this on this canoe.

    IF it has the traditional Thompson long nose, the most likely is the Indian.

    Dan
     
  5. OP
    OP
    JonE

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yes. I am including some more pics although am not currently near the canoe. It is in Wisconsin and I am in California. Based on your statements, it would be more likely that it is post 1922 and an Indian, not a Ranger.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    With that additional pic, the end shape looks like the traditional Thompson pulled back end,
    so with that, my guess is Indian, which were offered in that shape from 1923 to 1942.
    BTW, a Hiawatha would be flatter bottomed and have the 1/2 ribs.
     
  7. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    To me it doesn’t look like a cut down Indian. An Indian would have most likely had seats.
    From ‘49 on the Rangers like this one was built without seats specifically for camps. Kids learned to paddle,from their knees. Rangers that did have seats were plank seats. You can imagin how rough camp kids would have been on cane seats!
     
  8. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    The story is that the canoe was 1st purchased in 1937.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    JonE

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    He bought it from a camp. But he was born in '25 and worked in the camps as a teenager up in Door County. He bought it in '39 by my best guess (and his, before he died). He said that when he bought it, the canoe was already quite old. It went through its first restoration in the winter of '39-'40 where it received new canvas and a wooden seat. I restored it, with help from him, in '76 when I was in high school. At that time, I reverted it back to the original thwarts (which he had saved) and used it on the rivers, often portaging it. Thus the yolk. Now, as I enter my sixties, it will go through another restoration, but I am adding seats so my old timer duff can enjoy it without having to paddle on creeking knees.
     
  10. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Jon,

    What is your definition of "quite old"? Again, the Indian was offered in that style 1st in 1923, does that fit your definition of "quite old"?
    And he bought it when he was 14?? If so, maybe a 15 or 16 year old canoe would seem "quite old".
    FWIW, to me, that canoe just doesn't look like an old canoe, meaning teens or earlier.

    Dave,
    Why do you think this might be "cut down", and where? I agree the pics don't help much, but the 2ed to last one kinda shows the shear and kinda looks like a typical pulled back T end.

    Again, better pics from the side showing the shear would help.

    Dan
     
  11. OP
    OP
    JonE

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I had no idea of what 'Quite Old' meant. My guess after following this thread is that if was probably around fifteen to seventeen years old, if I were to take a flier on it and that would put the year at around 1925. Incidentally, the canoe had a number painted on a rib near the front of the bow (under the deck). That number was 25. It was hand painted, in black.
     
  12. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Jon,
    The number 25 was probably a number from the campe that owned it originally.

    Dan,
    You surmised that it was an Indian model. If it were an Indian model the shear on this canoe would have had to be cut down.
    There is little or no rise in the shear as there would be on an Indian. I see no evidence of t-end, which I assume you mean is torpedo end. (See my Indian below) To me it is a low end camp style Ranger all the way.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Dave,
    look at the 2ed to last pic, it's starting to show the typical T end shape. I agree the other pics don't help at all.
    How can it be a Ranger if it was purchased in 1939, the Guide end shape Ranger wasn't offered until 1949.
    Prior to that they had the typical high round end similar to the std OT end.

    What we need is a good side view pic.

    Dan
     
  14. OP
    OP
    JonE

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    No question it was a camp canoe. But if the Rangers didn't come along until 49 then it cannot be a Ranger. I'll get some pictures taken over the next week or so.
     
  15. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    From my earlier post,

    The 1st year the Ranger was in the catalogs was 1937. From 1937 to 1947 it was listed with the traditional high end shape, think Old Town.

    Then from 1949 to 1953 they were listed but with the low Guide style end that Dave is talking about.
    In 1955 only they are listed with the typical T pulled back end shape.
    And finally in the last year, 1956, they were again listed with the Guide ends.

    Dan
     

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