Sunday, July 5, 2020

New Paddle Submission: Ville K

Blog reader, Ville K, has submitted another paddle creation. A few of Ville's paddles have been showcased before on the blog, all featuring an identical blade shape. The latest creation is also carved from European Aspen but features a thinner blade with a less prominent spine and more flex.

Surface treatment is a few layers of a homemade pine tar-boiled linseed oil-pine turpentine mixture that gives the pale wood a wonderful golden hue. Here is a photo of his three paddles for comparison...

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Rangeley Heritage Museum Canoe and Paddles

The Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum has a full sized bark canoe and some paddles as part of a suspended display. Like most places during these trying times, the museum is currently closed to the public. However, I was able to find a photo on TripAdvisor uploaded by the museum staff.

The paddles resemble the c1849 Passamaquoddy Ocean style paddle noted by Adney in Fig 72.

Fig 72: Adney and Chappelle
Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America

Adney noted the original was carved in cedar. I myself tried this design out of a plank of yellow poplar years ago. You can read that paddle carving journey (in 4 parts) starting here. Despite being shut down for the Covid19 pandemic, the curator of the museum was able to get back in touch with me regarding the origins of the paddles and the canoe. They were built by famed builder Henri Vallaincourt of Greenville, New Hampshire.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Historic Paddle Image: Northeast Carry Camp

Here's another image (originally a stereoview) from A. L. Hinds of Benton, Maine. It is a Penobscot camp labelled as being near the North East Carry in Maine's famed Moosehead Lake region.

Source Links: Found originally on but also listed on Ruby Lane

White tourists are posing with members of the camp. Full sized paddles and large rolls of birchbark, likely for canoe construction, appear resting against the shelter on the far left. In the center frame, a guide holds up his paddle in and inverted manner providing a fantastic frontal view of the shape.

A further identical copy with zoomable features is found at the UMaine's Digital Commons library. The details in the description mention the image is from a set entitled  "Scenery in Northern Maine, Moosehead Lake series". This is image number 10, captioned "Indian Camp, (North East Carry)."

Friday, May 22, 2020

Smithsonian Collection: Thomas Dyneley Model Paddles

From the Smithsonian Institute is a model bark canoe with various accoutrements including decorated paddles. The full listing cites the 47cm canoe model as being in the St.Francis - Abenaki style with exterior sidewalls decorated with a red line, blue dots and blue scallops.

The canoe includes two matching paddles with rounded grips and diamond shaped blades featuring notched shoulders. The blade area is divided into faded red and blue hemispheres painted on the whole blade. The items were purchased by William C. Sturtevant in 1987 from the collection of Colonel C. B. Dyneley, but I believe this to be in error. Colonel Thomas Dyneley (1782-1860), later Lt. General, was commander of the Royal Artillery in Canada from 1847 to 1852 headquartered in Montreal.  In 1838, Colonel Dyneley was given the British title of Companion of the Order of Bath, which allowed for him to use the initials CB after his name. In 1853, Dyneley was listed as one of the many Aides-du-camps for Queen Victoria.

The canoe and paddles are believed to date from 1848 which is consistent with Dyneley's deployment. Additionally the items are consistent with other tourist curios made by native groups in the St. Lawrence river corridor often purchased by military officers as souvenirs of their tours Canada.

DONOR NAME: Dr. William C. Sturtevant
COLLECTOR: Colonel C. B. Dyneley
OBJECT TYPE: Canoe Model / Paddle Model
PLACE: Ontario / Quebec, Canada, North America
USNM NUMBER: E430522-0

A second canoe set, unfortunately in worse condition with broken bark and gunnels, feature similarly decorated paddles and a pole.

DONOR NAME: Dr. William C. Sturtevant
COLLECTOR: Colonel C. B. Dyneley
OBJECT TYPE: Canoe Model / Paddle Model
PLACE: Ontario / Quebec, Canada, North America
USNM NUMBER: E430521-0

This form of paddle and canoe must have been popular as there other surviving models in private and museum collections that have this dual red / blue decorative motif on the paddles. One such example is found in New York's Metropolitan Museum originally discussed in this post here.

Canoe Model with Accoutrements

Ralph T. Coe Collection, Gift of Ralph T. Coe Foundation for the Arts, 2011
Accession Number:  2011.154.6a–p

Provenance states this sample came from en English Country house post 1845 and eventually ended up in the Ralph T. Coe Collection. Dated to post 1845 would make it a contemporary of the models collected by Dyneley.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Historic Paddle Photo - 1870s Penobscot River Men, Maine

A stereo-graph originally archived on showcases some men in bark canoes and pirogues. The description cites it was part of a set entitled, Scenery in Northern Maine photographed by A.L. Hinds of  Benton, Maine.

By the Swan’s Road to Katahdin
#18 of Scenery in Northern Maine 
photographed by A.L. Hinds of  Benton, Maine.

The same photo is available for viewing courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Museum. See link here

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