Monday, November 26, 2018

Historic Paddle Illustration - Rindisbacher Print

Here's another historic artwork by Swiss artist Peter Rindisbacher (1806-1834). This particular piece entitled  An Indian removing in the summer with his wife and family is now in the collection of the Library and Archives of Canada.

An Indian removing in the summer with his wife and family.
Rindisbacher, Peter, 1806-1834.
Library and Archives Canada,
Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana
Accession No. R9266-4116
MIKAN no. 3835262 (1 item)
Copyright : Expired

Note that Rindisbacher portrays the male in the bow with his wife steering in the stern. As in other depictions of his artwork, the female is using a paddle with a bobble grip and holding it in the "broom sweeping" style of paddling.

Chippewa Canoe
Peter Rindisbacher

Monday, November 19, 2018

Historic Paddle Photo: Madrid Columbia Expo 1892

The Historical American Exposition (also known as the Columbian Historical Exposition) was held held in Madrid in 1892-1893 to mark the four hundredth year of the "discovery" of America. Part of the exhibit included a full sized birch bark canoe featuring two mannequins and accessories. The canoe and its model inhabitants are briefly mentioned on page 184 of the 1895 Report of the United States commission to the Columbian historical exposition at Madrid. The display is described as follows:
Canoe of birch bark. — Manned by two Algonkian Indians, occupied in fishing with the harpoon. They wear dresses of buckskin, with painted figures imitating embroidery. In fishing with the harpoon it is necessary that a fisherman should guide the canoe in accordance with the orders of the one who handles the harpoon. The canoe is made of a large piece of birch bark, attached to a wooden frame; the seams and holes are calked with spruce-pine rosin. These canoes are very light and of a graceful form. Two men can carry one of them on their shoulders for a stretch of many miles, which they do at rapids. The canoe exhibited was constructed by the Algonkian Indians of Canada.

Plates II and III feature grainy images of the display where the canoe seems to suspended from the ceiling and the mannequins are forming a scene. The bowman holds a harpoon at the ready while a stern paddler guides the canoe from the rear. Better resolution photos are found on the Smithsonian Archives site:

Columbian Historical Exposition in Madrid, Spain
ID: SIA2011-1444 or 91-17920
October 31, 1892 - January 31, 1893
Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 64, Folder: 2


Columbian Historical Exposition in Madrid, Spain
October 31, 1892 - January 31, 1893
ID: SIA2011-1442 or 91-17922
Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 64, Folder: 2


Searching through the Smithsonian's collections, the very canoe used in this exhibit is in their online database. It is listed as USNM NUMBER: E160340-0;  a Passamaquoddy canoe collected in 1871 from Eastport Maine.

DONOR NAME: Accession Number Unknown 
COLLECTOR: Dr. Edward Palmer 
HEIGHT: 61cm
DEPTH: 33cm
CULTURE: Passamaquoddy 
PLACE: Eastport, Washington County, Maine, United States, North America
USNM NUMBER: E160340-0

Unfortunately, no details of the mannequins, paddles or harpoon seem to have been kept. I've been vigorously searching the archives for more detail on the stern paddle featured in the display but have yet to find a paddle in the collection that resembles the one in the photo with its distinct ridged grip face.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pretend Campfire Smores Set

Here's a little off-season camping project finished up last fall. 

I ended up using some wood scrapes to make a pretend camp fire set. Left over pine and spruce stock was used to make the "firewood" and "flames" with dowels used to make some wooden marshmallows and roasting sticks.

My older son helped paint the flames for effect. We added some basswood cutoffs to make pretend graham crackers, chocolate squares and flattened marshmallows to complete the S'mores set.

The whole thing can be disassembled for storage and are currently being kept with the bushcraft toys made last winter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Pitt Rivers Museum - Two Woodland Paddles circa 1858

The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford has quite the collection of ethnographic items from around the globe. Their main display hall is quite the feast for the eyes!

Pitt Rivers Museum

While perusing some of the online photos folks have taken of this interesting place, I noticed a full sized bark canoe tucked onto an upper shelf (top left of photo above). I believe this is the canoe that Elspeth Soper posted on her blog during her visit to the museum back in 2015. However there were no mentions of paddles. With this canoe display appear to be two full sized paddles leaning up against the hull.

Another cropped photo sourced below showcases one of the paddles with its willow leaf style blade.


I believe this might be item  1886.1.866 posted about before which features an slightly indented grip face and drip ring.

Canoe Paddle -  1886.1.866
Cultural Group: NE ?Subarctic ?Woodlands E Algonquian
Dimensions: Max L = 1945 mm Max W of blade = 164 mm
When Collected: On or before 1858 Acquired: Transferred 17 February 1886
 © Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
Source Link

But another cropped shot from a large wide angle photo of the whole display area shows a second paddle leaning against the hull...


The second paddle might be item  1886.1.867 which seems to have a bulkier grip and thicker shaft but a similar blade shape with raised centre ridge...

Canoe Paddle -  1886.1.867
Cultural Group: NE ?Subarctic ?Woodlands E Algonquian Local Name: Unknown.
Dimensions: Max L = 1710 mm Max W of blade = 160 mm
When Collected: On or before 1858 Acquired: Transferred 17 February 1886
 © Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

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