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Indian Girl Canoe-How many still exist?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Dave Wermuth, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    No way to know how many were built. However you can count the number that survive without having to remove your socks.

    With yours, two canvas-covered; maybe six or seven all-wood.
  2. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    Dan, Is there any ideas on why they were built for only a couple of years before the Indian girl came out? The Indian looks to have great lines and should be a nice paddler. I guess that I was fortunate to pick it up just because it looked different than any other canoe I have seen. Even with the paint and fiberglass, it will be worth the time to restore such an early Rushton canoe. I'll post pictures of the restoration as I progress. Thanks for your info. Joe
  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Here is my theory. The Indian came out of the all-wood tradition, which Rushton clearly favored. In my article "Poems in Cedar" (Wooden Canoe issues 167 and 168), I made a case for the design originating with Fred Martin, who was known to design other canoes for Rushton and lived on the St. Lawrence before moving to the midwest. It is not clear when the Indian was first introduced into Rushton's line - 1901 is the earliest catalog I have seen that includes it, but I have a gap prior to that until 1896.

    It's around this time that Rushton determined that he needed to offer canvas canoes to remain competitive. I suspect since the Indian design was in hand, it was easy to adapt it to canvas and offer that initially. It was only offered in one length.

    In 1901, the Indian Girl was designed. The lines were (arguably) refined, and it was offered in several lengths. It's origin corresponds with the hiring of Melvin Roundy, who may have played a role in its design, if not having designed it outright.

    The overall popularity of the Indian Girl probably led to the dropping of the canvas-covered Indian from catalogs, though the all-wood Indian was offered for several years afterwards.
  4. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    Dan, Thanks for your insight into this canoe. Where could I find the specifications on an Indian, such as seat size and placement, keel configuration, thwart size and design etc.? I will be ordering the two issues of the journal with your articles. Joe
  5. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Canoe Nut

    Hi Joe,

    You'll have to ask me because I'm the one with the only other Indian, and it's all original.

    Let me know what you need specs for and close up pictures. If I recall you already had an original thwart?

    Good luck,

  6. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    Paul, thanks for offering any info that I will need for my Indian. At this time , I am beginning to start the restoration by removing the fiberglass with a heat gun and will follow that with stripping the interior of multiple layers of paint. As with my other restorations, I want to keep it as original as possible. Without ever seeing another Indian, I don't know exactly what is original in terms of dimensions, wood species, screw patterns etc. So as I begin to take things apart, I want to be sure to keep the original shape and dimensions of the hull. So here are a few dimensions that would help me out: the inside gunwale to inside gunwale measurement at the thwart, at the longest edge of each seat and at the base of the deck. Also does yours have a keel? Mine has a shoe keel 31/2" wide running from the end of the stembands on each end. In your opinion does the thwart and one seat on mine look original? Because I was wondering why they didn't paint it when they painted the gunnels, decks etc. Thanks so much for offering your insight on my Indian, Joe

    Attached Files:

  7. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Canoe Nut

    Rushton Indian details

    Hi Joe,

    You have an original thwart, but the back seat is wrong. Not sure what you front seat looks like.

    I did post a picture of the seat style in the first post you put up.

    Attached are the two pages from the 1901 Rushton Catalog showing a drawing of the all wood Indian with mention of the wood canvas version on the other page. They mention a shoe keel on the all wood but no mention on the other page. My canoe did not have a keel. So you may have an original keel.

    The decks, seats and thwart are Cherry. The inwale and outwale on mine are White Oak. Plank and ribs are White Cedar.

    I'll pull some measurements,


    Attached Files:

  8. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    Thanks Paul for the additional info on the Indian. Every bit helps me because I'm starting from square one with the Rushton, unlike Old towns and Morris' that I've had before. The dimensions will keep me going for a while as I progress. Joe
  9. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    For what it's worth, I've just got a 15' canoe with RUSHTON stamped on both stems that looks a lot the pics shown by Ticonderoga: same 'shoe' for a keel, same rectangular seats. Except mine has Penn Yan style decks. Mine has a thwart in the center of the canoe (unlike Paul's pic) and has an ugly skinny thwart just behind the front seat. I believe mine to be an Indian too - a very early serial #84.
    Rushton Indian Tech Drawing From Dan Miller.jpg
    Take a look at the pic above provided by Dan Miller of an Indian. Notice the decks look like a Penn Yan. And a rectangular rear seat. Yet ths Indian shown is different than the Indian in Paul's pic.

    Thwart differences, rear seat shape differences, deck shape differences... I'm thinking Rushton tinkered with the design - that there is no one 'correct' Indian look.

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