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Thompson Hiawatha

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Carlton, May 18, 2020.

  1. Carlton

    Carlton Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi All,
    Just brought home a Thompson canoe from a friend in Rhinelander, WI. . Not too bad of shape, but 4-5 ribs need to be replaced. One curiosity is the mount on the floor and the brackets on the back stem. It appears to be set up with a sail and rudder, but don't know if Thompson Bros. ever made such a canoe. Any thoughts and ideas will be appreciated. Thanks! Carlton

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  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    You Hiawatha was set up for sailing. The bracket on the stern stem held the rudder and the block on the floor is a mast step.
    I’ve seen many Thompson canoes, and have never recognized one to have a factory sail rig. I have seen home made sail rigs on a few.
    From the rib/half rib configuration I think your canoe was built after 1938. I arrived at that conclusion because the artwork in the 1939 catalog shows the narrower ribs and half ribs.
    Prior to that the ribs and half ribs were wider, giving the illusion of a solid floor with no spaces between the ribs and half ribs.
    Dating Thompson’s definitively is difficult.
    Congratulations on gettin the favorite canoe!
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
  3. OP

    Carlton Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Dave.
    Any idea were I could find a rudder, or how to set one up?
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Thompson offered sail rigs as shown below from their 1942 catalog. The rudder gudgeons on your canoe appear to be the same style as Old Town used so you may be able to find one used on eBay or craigslist. Reproduction pintles are available from and others if you decide to make one. There is a lot of information here and the book at has more details. See for some pictures of how these are often rigged. Good luck,


  5. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    The gudgeons on the stern stem look the same as Old Town used. You could look for an Old Town sail rig. They come up for sale(no pun) on this website’s classifieds sometimes, eBay, and Craigslist on occasion.
    I believe there some listed on eBay currently.

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