1939 "Dowmetal" Canoe
From the pages of the May 1939 issue of Sports Afield comes this ad for an all metal canoe. I knew that Grumman had popularized the aluminum canoe immediately after World War ll, using all that aircraft aluminum that was no longer needed for war production.
I bought mine in 1959 and it looks as good today as when I bought it. I've seen ads for Grumman aluminum canoes appearing as early as 1947, but I had no idea that a metal canoe was made as early as 1939. The fact that it was made from "Dowmetal" got me to wondering what exactly "Dowmetal" was. Google is a wonderful tool, folks. Seems "Dowmetal" was an alloy made by Dow Chemical that consisted of at least 85% magnesium along with some other metals. I hope those other metals did their job as you will remember from high school chemistry class that magnesium and water produce hydrogen (boom!).
It would be interesting to know how many of these were actually sold and if any are still around. "Dowmetal" is suppose to be lighter than aluminum so there must have been some drawbacks to mass production and sales as my friends who delight in antique canoes had never heard of this one.
-- Bill Sonnett