Wood Canoe Manufacturer Database

Wood Canoe Manufacturers

The Haskell Boat Company of Ludington, Michigan, built a single model of 17 foot, molded plywood canoe from about 1917 until about 1934. Henry L.

J.H. (John Henry) Rushton began building boats in 1875 in Canton, New York. He quickly became well known for his Rob Roy-style decked canoes and pulling boats. He built the original Vesper decked sailing canoe for Robert Gibson who went on to win the first American Canoe Association International Challenge cup. 

The Kennebec Boat and Canoe Company built its first canoes in December of 1909. The company was founded by George F. Terry, who was formerly a railroad station agent, ice cutter, publisher and merchandiser. Terry’s son, George F. Terry, Jr. later joined the company and ran it until 1939. In 1939, the company was sold to Frank Terry and James Dean. A small number of canoes were built until the factory was closed for good in 1941.

At the end of World War 2, Ed Link was searching for a way to keep his factories going and his employees working. He was a pilot and the inventor of the flight trainer, with the homebase of Link Aviation Devices in Binghamton, NY. He owned a Grumman Widgeon floatplane and also enjoyed hunting and fishing.

The Old Town Canoe Company of Old Town, Maine was formed in 1901 as the Indian Old Town Canoe Company. After a short stint as the Robertson Old Town Canoe Company, with J.R. Robertson as partner, it became the Old Town Canoe Company. Still in business today, Old Town has built well over 200,000 wood canoes over the last hundred plus years.

The Ontario Canoe Company was founded in 1883 by Colonel James Z. Rogers in Peterborough, Ontario. The company’s offerings were based on the cedar strip and cedar rib style canoes invented and patented by John Stephenson. The factory burned down May 9, 1892, and would not be re-built. Rogers would become supervisor of the newly-formed Peterborough Canoe Company, which was incorporated shortly before the Ontario Canoe Company burned down. Arthur Tebb, a former Ontario Canoe Company supervisor, and Felix Brownscombe formed the Canadian Canoe Company, also in 1892.

The Penn Yan Boat Company of Penn Yan, New York, was founded in the mid-1920s. Perhaps more well known for the outboard boats they built, the company built a variety of canvas covered canoes, and a fair number survive today. The company ceased building wood boats and canoes in the early 1960s, switching instead to all fiberglass production. No records are known to survive.

The Penobscot Canoe Company (also known as Pecaco) was founded in 1915 by Alfred Wickett, who was formerly employed by the Old Town Canoe Company. Alfred left the Penobscot Canoe Co. in 1920, moved to Missouri, and started the St. Louis Meramec Canoe Company. The Pecaco factory burned down in 1923.

The Peterborough Canoe Company was formed in 1892 in Peterborough, Ontario, just weeks before the Ontario Canoe Company burned down in May 1892. Col. James Z. Rogers, former president, general manager and one-third owner of the Ontario Canoe Company, owned 4% of the new company and became manager in 1893. The company continued to build the wide-board, cedar strip and cedar rib canoes much like the Ontario Canoe Company had before them.

When the Racine Boat Manufacturing Company factory burned down in 1903, the company relocated and rebuilt in Muskegon, Michigan. In March, 1905, a number of workers who had moved to Muskegon returned to Racine and incorporated the Racine Boat and Canoe Company, which they shortened to Racine Boat Company in August that same year.

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