Thompson Brothers Boat Manufacturing Company
The Thompson Brothers Boat Manufacturing Company of Peshtigo, Wisconsin was founded in 1904 by Peter and Christ Thompson. Peter had learned boat building by previously working for the Racine Boat Manufacturing Company and for Chris Smith, founder of Chris-Craft. In 1924, Thompson Brothers expanded and added a second factory located in Cortland, New York. Thompson Brothers built wood canoes through 1962.
- Indian Model: Standard Thompson model, does not have half ribs.
- Hiawatha Model: Built on the same mold as the Indian Model, has half ribs with ends covered by stringer.
- Ranger Model: This model has a very flat sheer.
Dating the Thompson Hiawatha
by Dave Osborn (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Using the Thompson Brothers Boat Company CD-ROM by Dan Miller and Benson Gray, I developed a matrix by year, seat, thwart, and gunwale materials used. I was able to determine that my 18′ Hiawatha was built in 1922 or 1923 (assuming they never ever substituted materials in other years). The Thompson Digital Catalog Collection, which is a nearly complete collection of Thompson Brothers catalogs, is available from the WCHA On-line Store. Thanks to Dan and Benson’s efforts, some of us Thompson owners can now zero in on our canoe’s origins.
|1921*||white oak||white oak||spruce|
|1922||white oak||white oak||spruce|
|1923||white oak||white oak||spruce|
|1924||selected maple||selected maple||spruce|
|1928||selected maple||selected maple||spruce|
|1929||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1930||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1931||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1932||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1933||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1934||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1935||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1937||white maple||white maple||spruce|
|1939||white maple||white maple||mahogany|
|1940||white maple||white maple||mahogany|
|1941***||white maple||white maple||mahogany|
* only available in 16′ and 17′ lengths
** 30″ decks of cedar or mahogany were available in all production years
*** art work in 1941 catalog and later show narrow half ribs