Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Historic Paddle Illustrations - Beothuk Paddles

Came across this historical illustration of a Beothuk canoe and paddle dated from 1773. It may be the source documented by Adney and others as the representation of paddles for the exterminated Beothuk tribe of Newfoundland. Notably, this style of paddle has a very elongated, narrow "willow leaf" style blade with a pole grip, the length of which (to the scale of the canoe) seems to corroborate its usage as an paddle for the uniquely designed seaworthy canoes of the Beothuk.

Beothuk Canoe & Paddle Sketch

Paddle closeup

My own, reduced sized interpretation of a Beothuk paddle with a cherry laminated bobble grip is still awaiting some woodburning decoration.


Bryan said...

The canoe looks significantly different than Adney's drawing in Bark and Skin. Here's the model that I did of Adney's Beothuk canoe. http://www.paddlinglight.com/articles/free-canoe-plans-beothuk-canoe/

Mike said...

Just as an aside, Bryan Hansel of Paddlinglight.net did up a 3D canoe plan for a Beothuk canoe, http://www.paddlinglight.com/articles/free-canoe-plans-beothuk-canoe/. As this site states:

The Beothuk Canoe appears as Figure 87 in the Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. It differs from every other canoe in that book, and no actual physical model existed when Adney surveyed the canoes. He based the drawing on historic and sometime conflicting descriptions, and a birch-bark canoe toy found in the grave of a Beothuk boy. Chapelle notes that when turned upside down the canoe makes a shelter with a 3-foot head clearance. The canoe can also heel over on the water further than other canoes. Chapelle speculates that the canoes were designed for open-water navigation.


Length: 15 feet
Width: 43.5 inches
Draft: 8 inches
Displacement: 625 lbs.

Murat said...

Thanks for the details guys. I'm sure Adney's sketch would be much more accurate...the lines of the canoe in this illustration look too fanciful to my eye.

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