Identify an older Folbot

The information here takes you through time as you scroll down the page. Many items are from Jay Kissner's books and catalogs (there's a blurry line of distinction between those two), some are from Folbot forum users, some are from ads in National Geographic and other magazines and some are from ebay.

If you have any information that would be helpful please contact me through the Folbot forum PM system - username flatwater.

Items I would most like to include:
Folbot catalogs or other literature
old advertisements
instructions sheets that came with a Folbot
old photos that show useful details of boats of known age
If you want to donate anything you have to the collection, our Thanks.
If you want to keep what you have but would like to see it posted here, I can scan it for you and return it to you. I pay postage both ways.
If you have the equipment to take high quality, high-res scans (like 2,400 pixels per inch) then you can just send me the scans.

Here is a clumsy chart of all models and years that I've gleaned from the documents presented here. It gives you an idea of the progression of models through the years.

Way Back in Time - in England
Courtesy of forum member utz, we have two catalogs from Folbot's beginnings in England. The 1936 catalog pages are snatched from an eBay listing so are low resolution. The 1937 catalog is all scans from utz so are a bit better. Thanks Andrew.

1936 catalog in color

The interesting thing about these catalogs - we've always understood that Jay Kissner moved Folbot to New York City in 1935, yet the order page (page 22) of this catalog clearly calls it the "FOLBOT catalogue, 1937" and the address given on page 24 is still London. So what's up with that?

1937 catalog in black & white

The Oldest US Boats
Folbot moved from England to New York in 1935 or did it? See the 1937 catalog above. During World War II, Folbots were used by the US Armed Services for a variety of operations. During the war, Folbot had only two models as found in the first book Jay published in 1940.

1940 "Folbot Holidays"
the "Large Standard Two-seater" - 17.5' x 36"
the "Single-seater" - 14' x 29"
They correspond to the Super and the Sporty of later years.
1940 models

The boats of that time were very heavy compared to today, yet here is a picture showing "how easy" it is to carry a Folbot. The boats were promoted as easy to carry and assemble in a way that amazes me today. Check out this drawing. The hull bag had to weigh 40 lbs, yet this drawing implies that a woman could carry it with ease. She must have been in MUCH better shape than I am.
Here's a slightly more realistic look at how to "carry" a Folbot.

By 1945, Jay had begun calling the Single-seater the "Sporty", but the tandem was still called the "Standard Two-seater".

1945 "Folbot Holidays"
the "Standard Twoseater" - 17.5' x 36"
the "Sporty Singleseater" - 14' x 29"
the "Runabout" - probably 14' long as best I can find
Here's the "catalog page" from the 1945 edition of the book. It's actually the inside, back cover. It appears that the major difference between the 1940 and 1945 editions was the cover. The information in the book pages still reflected 1940. Notice the camping gear for sale as well.

The 1945 listing shows a new boat added. The "Runabout" was a squarestern that could carry up to four people.
This ad from National Geographic seems to say the boat was only 14 ft long. If it's correct, four people would have been a bit crowded.


The following three flyers are courtesy of forum member MrPorcine. Thanks Jim.

1946 flyer for the new Play-Kayak.
To see detail, here's a .pdf of the flyer.

This 1947 ad is interesting in several respects. Note how the guy is holding the paddle - wrong. And note the reference to a 9.5 foot, single seater. That's the Play-Kayak introduced last year. At the end of the copy, there is a claim that the Two Seater can be assembled in 10 minutes. In the 1945 book, there is a statment that the record time in assembly competitions was 4.5 minutes!

1948 newsletter with pricelist. Only three boats, the Super (it's now the official name) at $109 with LOTS of accesssories, the Play-Kayak and the 14' Sporty Singleseater.
Again, here's a .pdf for detailed viewing.

Here's a late 1948 ad from National Geographic showing the Standard Two-seater at the "off season" price of $119.

1949 newsletter with pricelist. Now only two boats, the Super, now at $129, and its many accesssories and the 14' Sport Singleseater. The Play-Kayak is gone. It didn't last long.
And the .pdf for detail.

In 1953, Folbot moved to Charleston, but the boats continued much the same.
The basic boats remained mostly unchanged for years, but over time Jay added more and more models. There were some interesting variations that could carry several people.
This 1969 price list is courtesy of Cliffy. Note the Explorer and Scout are not yet in the price sheet, but they appear in the book only a couple years later.

1973 Book "Fabulous Folbot Holidays"
The next to last edition of Jay's book (in actual book form) was titled "Fabulous Folbot Holidays". It was the 4th edition, probably published in 1973.
These catalog-like pages are taken from it. I've arranged them somewhat the way Jay saw his boats. He did not consider most of them to be kayaks. Only the Scout & Racer were called kayaks in his publications. I guess he thought of the others more as decked canoes.

1982 Catalog "Fabulous Folbot Recreation"
Courtesy of forum member Ken Hartlein. Thanks Ken.
This "catalog" is 8 1/2" x 11" with "page paper" covers in true, mailorder catalog form. But it still contains several pages of stories much like the earlier books. Perhaps Kissner found it cheaper to produce this form.


In 1983 Jay sold Folbot to Phil Cotton, who began the transition to today's modern materials.


One of the first things Phil did was prune the Folobt product line. Those boats that were discontinued are listed below. A letter from Phil in March of '83 announced this to the Folbot customer base.

1983 Price List
Courtesy of forum member krahmerica. Thanks Eric.
The page numbers in this list match the 82 catalog above.
Page 1
Page 2 - plywood kits
Discontinued boats:
Explorer
Racer
Seayak
vacu-formed Super
Sportabout
Glorius
Trimaran
1983 Prospective Customer letter - March
Page 1
Page 2


1985/86 catalog and flyers
Courtesy of forum member MrPorcine. Thanks Jim.
In early '86 Folbot was mailing the out of date '85 catalog with a note on the front telling customers to use the price sheet or call the factory, a result of several boats having been discontinued.
This collection contains an '85 catalog, '86 pricelist and '86 flyers for new items like rigid kayaks and Old Town canoes.


1988 catalog - February
Courtesy of forum member krahmerica. Thanks Eric.
This catalog still shows the Super. The Pisces was introduced the next month.
Notice that the hardshell Super has returned with a fiberglass hull - reminiscent of the vacu-formed Super in the '83 catalog.


Super Junior - 15' x 32" - Almost as rare as the GI - you could call it a small Super or a tandem Sporty (same hull). Made for only 2 or 3 years at the end of the 1980s - the end of the kit boat era. The pictures here are from forum members barthoag and geologicool. Thanks for good pics of a rare Folbot.

1988 Pisces brouchure - March
Courtesy of forum member krahmerica. Thanks again.
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4 - Phil's history of Pisces development


Sept of '89, hurricane Hugo trashes the Folbot factory.


1989 Price List
Courtesy of forum member krahmerica
Note that both Super and Pisces are in this list. They coexisted for two years, until the GII ended them both.
And the Super Junior is still there as well.
Page 1 - prices
Page 2 - shipping

The '89 price list above was mailed at the very end of the year, with a "Pre-Spring 1990" sale flyer. It introduced the new for 1990 Greenland II at an introductory price of only $1,300. This was the end for the decades old Super and for the only 2 year old Pisces.
Spring Sale

1990 Greenland II introductory brochure
Courtesy of forum member krahmerica
Would you believe the GII was introduced in January of 1990 at a price of $1,500? Note the introductory discount shown above.
The current price (Nov 2009) is only $2,600. That tracks right with the annual inflation rate of the US economy.
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4 - Includes Otter and Osprey - new in 1990

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