As Jack Hazzard reported, there has been at least one other paper canoe, that built in 1874 for Nathaniel Bishop by E. Waters & Sons of Troy, New York. In his book The Voyage of the Paper Canoe , Bishop reports that the company began making paper boats -- mostly racing sculls -- about 1867.It also seems to have made some other types of boats, but the book doesn't make it clear how many.
Most references say the paper canoe was made of "the best Manilla paper," as were the racing sculls. Bishop, however, indicates it was made of a single sheet of "pure unbleached linen stock" paper, which covered the entire length of the boat. The thickness of the linen paper, he wrote, varied by as much as 1/16th of an inch.
The paper boats were laid up over a wooden form made to exact dimensions. For canoes, which needed to be sturdier than the sculls, a frame -- of keel, ribs and gunwales -- was made and placed over the form before the paper was laid on. When the paper was in place it was waterproofed with a "marine glue," then varnished.
The Maria Theresa, as Bishop named his paper canoe, was 14 feet long, 28 inches in the beam and rose from nine inches amidships to 23 inches in front and 20 inches in back. It weighed 58 pounds and waspaddled with a single blade of double oars.
Bishop was one of a generation of gentleman adventurer/explorers using canoes. His journey was not made to test a paper boat but to "follow the natural and artifical interconnecting watercourses" down the coast and across Florida to the Gulf of Mexico, "making as few portages as possible." He kept detailed records and drew maps of the waterways.
He began his journey in Quebec on July 4, 1874, with a companion and in a wooden canoe. By the time he reached Troy, a month and 400 miles later, he had decided he needed a lighter boat and no companion. He waited in Troy until October, when his paper canoe was finished, and then continued south, reaching Delaware Bay in November. There he had perhaps his closest call, a capsize during a storm.
He traveled the Eastern Shore using the creeks, rivers and inlets such as Assa-woman Bay and Sinepuxent Bay, stopping near Fenwick Island to visit a friend, B. Jones Taylor, who was treasurer of a company in Ocean City.
Once, near Watchapreague, he spent the night in his canoe, waiting out another severe storm. He crossed to the mainland of the peninsula from Cobb Island, then portaged the canoe in a wagon to Cherrystone, where he boarded a ferry for the 40-mile crossing of Chesapeake Bay, arriving in Norfolk on December 4, 1874. He reported that the people of the region were "everywhere kind and hospitable to strangers."
Bishop reached the Gulf of Mexico near St. Mary's, Georgia, on March 26, 1875, after more than 2,500 miles, 2,000 of them in the paper canoe. His book, describing his adventures and commenting on customs he found along the way, may be found in the Library of Congress.
Though several people thought the Bishop canoe to be at the Smithsonian, that does not appear to be so, according to a number of officials there. That impression may have been created by a note in Bishop's book that in 1876, he lent it to the Smithsonian for the Centennial Exposition being held in Philadelphia.
According to the Rensselaer County (New York) Historical Society, the E. Waters & Sons paper boat company burned in 1901.