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The Sportsman's Gazetteer and General Guide from 1877

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Benson Gray, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I recently stumbled into The Sportsman's Gazetteer and General Guide at from 1877. The section on Sporting Boats and Canoes is particularly interesting since there are a variety of canvas covered canoes described which I have never heard about before. Most of them sound like the skin on frame style but it is clear that waterproof canvas was in common use for covering canoes and small boats during this period. Old Town, Maine was mentioned as a place to get good birch bark canoes. The Yarmouth Fishing Canoe from W. A. Lawson in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia sounds very similar to a modern wood and canvas canoe but I haven't been able to find out anything more about them. The descriptions below interested me so please reply here if you can provide any more information about these builders or their boats. Thanks,


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    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Cool find, Benson!!!
  3. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I've read a number of similar reviews from "the great age of optimism." Canoes, kayaks, lamps, tools, you name it. Often, as I see in this review, the writer seems to have an incomplete understanding of the product. I felt a certain skepticism about the folding boats. Even so, it does show innovation was there and admired. Bark canoes were cheap.
  4. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    It seems like a logical and very possible step in the evolution of canoe construction...sealed canvas over a frame isn't an entirely radical idea...simple frames to stretch or attach a seal-able skin make considerable sense.
    That said, the skinned boats all suffer from all variety of weaknesses, inconveniences and I am sure these early builders and their clients encountered them all. I'm thankful for that. I can't picture myself with an overstuffed garage full of Folbots....I can't even bring myself to own one.

    There was an evolution of canoe construction..what we lack is any specific timeline and even details about how different construction styles influenced others. If these skin over frame boats were an earlier introduction of canvas to canoes, it may be possible that it lead someone to put a canvas over a bark canoe frame, or for someone to build a planked canoe and cover it with canvas. What happened first, where, when who did it and why will remain a topic for discussion and debate long after most of us drive our last tacks.

    Benson, keep digging...maybe some day your persistence will turn up a Rosetta stone.

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