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Carleton Canoe # 16616 17? (or 16816? or 16316?)

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Denis T Yurkovich, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. Denis T Yurkovich

    Denis T Yurkovich New Member

    Recently acquired a courting canoe that the previous owner believed to be a Morris. The long decks are 24 inches back and 36 inches in the front of the canoe and do somewhat resemble pictures of Morris' long decks I have seen. (The canoe had been in his family since the 1930's, and was even registered as a Morris with ID # 16616.) However, the canoe does not have the Morris splayed stem and keel is screwed on through every other rib. The stem is squared and marked like an Old Town typically would be, not a brass tag of a Morris.

    I had Old Town research the number and 16616 was a 16 footer and did not match otherwise either. The middle digit is difficult to read on both stems #16816 17 seems to provide the best match as a 1911 Charles River with all the mahogany components, open gunwales, etc. But there is no mention of the long decks on the build card. As I have seen many CR with typical size decks I'd expect that would have been called out. And the pics of Old Town long decks I have seen are styled differently than this canoe's.

    The deck very much resembles pics I have seen of Carleton long decks. I know Old Town took over making Carleton canoes around this time so I anticipated Old town to have a build record. But are the Carleton serial numbers an entirely different dataset? Any help to identify is appreciated. 20210705_224646.jpg 212161177_1390614917977885_8821260195232500367_n.jpg
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Welcome and congratulations, the Carleton canoe with serial number 16616 is a 17 foot long, AA (or top) grade, Carleton model with red Western cedar planking, open mahogany gunwales, a 36 inch long bow mahogany decks, a 24 inch long stern deck, mahogany thwarts, mahogany seats, a keel, outside stems, a floor rack, and a five inch thwart in place of a bow seat. It was built between February and March, 1922. The original exterior paint color was dark blue with a yellow border stripe and a 1/2 inch gold stripe with leaf ends. It shipped on April 9th, 1922 to South Akron, Ohio. A scan of this build record can be found below.

    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 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 to learn more about the WCHA and to donate or join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match the canoe. This appears to be similar to the Molitor models that Old Town started building in 1921. See for a similar Carleton Molitor. The information at has more about Old Town's Molitor models and their connection to Morris. Old Town purchased Carleton in March of 1910 and continued the brand until the 1940s. The Carleton serial numbers are a completely different (and overlapping) dataset. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.


    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
    1905Gerrish likes this.
  3. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Nice find!
    I wonder what’s up with the 3 thwarts ahead of the stern seat..?
  4. OP
    Denis T Yurkovich

    Denis T Yurkovich New Member

    thank you Benson, I believe that is the build sheet. The Previous owners got it from someone in Portage Lakes (ie South Akron) in the 1930's
  5. OP
    Denis T Yurkovich

    Denis T Yurkovich New Member


    Yes, I thought those 3 thwarts were unique also. I believe they maybe a custom addon by someone afterwards ?? The outside two are held on with diamond head bolts. All the other bolts (for thwarts and the seat) on the boat are counter sunk and plugged for a smooth finish. The two extra thwarts also each have two small holes drilled through them. From what I have seen in historic photos maybe it was used to secure the Victrola to the canoe since blue tooth wasn't available? Or a seat? I think I'd use those as a seat when solo paddling.

    Its the extra thwart behind the wide bow thwart has me wondering. It's bolts are counter sunk and plugged like the other originals, but it does not have the flat back like the wide thwart that was flat for leaning a seat back on to. Maybe just there to easily have a cushion set on top as seat??
  6. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    You have a great canoe - Nice!
    It seems to me that the "normal" thwart behind the 5" wide one would have been the original. It would have been there if the regular bow seat had been installed. It says on the build record that the wide thwart was installed in place of the bow seat so I presume that the "normal" thwart was simply left in place. You may be right that the two additional thwarts, plus the normal thwart in front of the stern seat would have been used for the Victrola. Benson would know the exact date but 1922 was around the time that Old Town was switching from countersunk bolts to diamond head bolts for seats and thwarts. The two additional thwarts may have been installed after the canoe left the factory especially because there is no mention on the build record and diamond head bolts were provided with the thwarts. Now you have to locate a Victrola or Edison record player that works to complete the outfit as well as pillows, seat back and a rug. Enjoy.

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