Dia-Compe cantilever brakes don't appear to have a date code, but supposedly the 981, 983, 986 brakes were first introduced in 1981, 1983, 1986, etc.
Following Ben's lead - I checked three sets of Dia-Compe G calipers and all have the four-digit date code on the back of one of the arms.
In this website, we credit the people involved in the understanding of these codes. (Naturally, for information provided by others, such as for the Campagnolo and Williams codes, the original source should be cited.)Ben writes: "Brakes and brake levers often have date codes on them.)Most early Treks (1976 through about 1980) were sold as framesets.The components were added by the local bike shop or by the buyer. Components also could be swapped from an existing ride to the new frameset.[Atom] [Brooks] [Campagnolo] [Dia-Compe and Weinmann] [Huret] [Maillard] [Normandy] [Nitto] [SR (Sakae)] [Sachs-Huret] [Shimano] [Strong] [Sansin] [Sunshine] [Sun Tour (Maeda)] [Sugino] [Tange] [Williams] [Dancing Chain] [Saddles]The date of manufacture of a bicycle's components can often be used to determine the date of manufacture of the bike itself.Some bike parts have a date code cast or stamped into the piece.The Appendix gives dates of initial manufacture for the vast majority of derailleurs made from 1920 to 1999.