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Paddle Identification: Tom Thomson

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by Murat V, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Murat V

    Murat V LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Trying to research (for fun) the identity of Tom Thomson's canoe paddle in the attached pic (circa 1913-1917).


    Mike O started a post a while back and the wonderfully knowledgeable folks here were able to ID Thomson's canoe. Hoping to get some feedback on the paddle...a wild shot, maybe, but if anyone would know they'd likely be here.

    Realize the photo is grainy but looks to me that there is a circular logo on the blade. I assumed given that Thomson's canoe is a confirmed Chestnut, that maybe this was a chestnut paddle too. Certainly resembles the shape of the Model B maple Paddle listed in a 1905 Catalog image.

    Just not sure if Chestnut used its famous leafy logo on paddles back then since the catalog illustrations shows paddles without them. Was hoping someone could chime in..
  2. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I'm assuming it would be a Chestnut paddle....Tom had bought a Chestnut canoe (likely a Cruiser or Guides Special) in South River....and Chestnut (like many canoe companies) sold their canoes with paddles included if wanted....and I think Thomson would have likely ordered his canoe in that manner....or at least bought as such....and the decal looks like a Chestnut of that vintage....of course his favourite paddle was apparently made of cherry; this is the one that went missing and was never found....part of the speculation surrounding his death

    Roy MacGregor wrote: Thomson had caught the bug of the North. He soon showed up at work carrying a new paddle, which he immediately tested out by filling one of the photoengraver tanks with water, then placing the tank beside his chair so he could sit down and practise paddling.

    “At each stroke he gave a real canoeman’s twist,” recalled J.E.H. MacDonald, “and his eye had a quiet gleam, as if he saw the hills and shores of Canoe Lake.”
    - from Northern Light: The Enduring Mystery of Tom Thomson and the Woman Who Loved Him by Roy MacGregor, p. 28

    Hope that helps....keep me posted on what you find out.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  3. David McDaniel

    David McDaniel Canoe Dude

    Would it be close to this one?
    Chestnut paddle with Chestnut decal on one side,and Sun,
    Ignition & Marinecraft Co., Fort Erie, Ont. on the other.
    later Dave

    Attached Files:

  4. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Most likely!
  5. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Beautiful paddle, Dave. Looks like the one in the picture to me, too.

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