Carleton Canoe Company

Carleton Canoe Company deck plate
Years in Business: 
circa 1889 - 1941
Company History: 

It is not clear exactly when the Carleton Canoe Company was founded. Page 168 of the “Vital Records of Old Town, Maine Prior to 1892” (ISBN 0-89725-289-6) shows that Guy Carleton was identified as a boatmaker when he married a schoolteacher named Flora on November 30th, 1876. Page 24 shows that their daughter Marjorie Babbidge Carleton was born on November 20th, 1886 and Guy was identified as a canoe manufacturer at that time. The 1889 Maine Register appears to be the first one to list “G. E Carleton” as a maker of “Batteaux and Canoes” in Old Town, Maine.

The business was purchased by the Old Town Canoe Company in March of 1910. Their factory on South Main street burned on May 17th, 1911 so all of their canoe building was consolidated with Old Town Canoe after that date. However, they continued to print Carleton catalogs and sell Carleton canoes into the early 1940s.

Identifying Features: 
  • Heart-shaped deck is typical, though later Carleton canoes will have decks identical in shape to Old Town canoes.
  • Carry Thwart just aft of bow deck is typical of short-deck Carleton Canoes. It is slightly arched in shape.
  • Serial Number follows the 4 or 5 + 2 digit format. The longer sequence of digits is the serial number and the two-digit portion is the length of the canoe. Following the purchase of Carleton Canoe Company by Old Town Canoe Company in 1910, records were kept in the same manner as for Old Town canoes. If an Old Town build record doesn’t match your canoe, ask for the record of the same number from the Carleton records. Carleton records are available through the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association’s Serial Number Search.
  • Diamond Head Bolts identical to those used on Old Town canoes may be present on Carleton Canoes built after circa 1920.