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Manufacturers Index - McKay & Hoadley

McKay & Hoadley
Pittsfield, MA, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Jun 12 2017 10:07PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

In about 1844, Gordon McKay operated a machine shop in Pittsfield. A few years later Frederick Harbach joined the firm which became McKay & Harbach. Within a few months, Harbach left the firm and was replaced by John C. Hoadley and the firm became McKay & Hoadley. In 1852 the partners relocated to Lawrence, Mass., and operated there as the Lawrence Machine Shop. See that entry for more information on McKay and Hoadley.

Meanwhile, the machine shop in Pittsfield was taken over by John E. Dodge and Almiron D. Francis, operating as Dodge & Francis until 1855 when Dodge was bought out by David A. Clary and the firm became Francis & Clary. In 1865 Francis retired from the firm, which became Clary, Sedgwick & Russell. Two years later the firm became Clary & Russell. About five years later, in 1872, H. S. Russell became the sole proprietor.

We know that during the McKay & Harbach era the firm made steam engines, and this lasted until at least the Dodge & Francis era—by which time they were also making steam sawmills. By the time that H. S. Russell took over, the firm was no longer making engines or sawmills, specializing instead in boilers, pumps and paper mill machinery.

Information Sources

  • 1847-05-27 Farmer and Mechanic.
    An excellent Heat Generator

    Messrs. McKay & Harbach, of Pittsfield, Mass., have a twenty-horse power engine of their own manufacture, that drives two fans for the foundry, a planing machine and circular saw in the carpenters' shop, and all the machinery for manufacturing purposes in their engine and boiler shops. This engine requires only one half cord of wood (which is equal to about 900 pounds of coal) to run it twelve hours, using the common cylinder. They allow more room for the expansion of the steam than many engine builders, and of course waste less power, and the steam when it is ejected is at a very low temperature. They attach the governor to the cut-off, thereby regulating the quantity, in proportion to the power required. The boiler A is set as seen in the annexed engraving, and nearly in the same manner as the Print and Dyeing Company had theirs arranged on Staten Island some ten years since. It covers nearly the principle patented by D. Griffin, of this city, and we see no reason why it is not equally as valuable. The draft through the fire passes in at a into the ash chamber d and through the grate to B, thence into the air chamber C, and thence passes through e into the chimney i. When the steam is up,the fire may be checked without any waste of fuel, by opening a damper F leading into C, or what is still better by shutting the one at a and opening the one at p in the back of the chimney, which is large enough to clean out the soot and ashes that may collect in the air chamber. This is a decided improvement, and we think will supersede the ordinary method of setting boilers.

  • The first name of Harbach is uncertain, but based on an 1847 car-wheel patent (see the Patents tab) we believe he was Frederick Harbach.
  • 1849-09-06 Farmer and Mechanic.
    Steam Engines & Boilers. The subscribers manufacture steam engines & boilers of any size less than 300 horse power, which, for economy of fuel, beauty, and strength, are second to none made in the nited States. Their engines are placed on solid cast iron bed plates from 15 to 30 inches in height, which are cast in one piece. The regulator and force pump are attached to the engine. Engines of from 3 to 25 horse power constantly on hand, and set up at short notice; also saw mill engines, ready made, of great strength and power, requiring no other fuel than the saw dust. The subscribers are also agents for building Parker's Water-wheel, which is the best and cheapest wheel now in use. The agents for the sale of their engines are, Judson and DeWolfe of Springfield; Henry P. Fairbanks, Boston; Henry W. Miller, Worcester, Mass.; Birge & Brothers, Troy; and L. M. Taylor, Utica, N. Y. The subscribers have on hand an engine with two pumps, and hoisting gearing for pumping and raising ore from a mine. Prices are lower for cast, than engines of equal value can be bought elsewhere.
        M'KAY & HOADLEY
        Pittsfield, Mass.
  • 1852 The Massachusetts Register lists "McKay & Hoadley, Pittsfield" as machinists.
  • The 1855 book, History of Western Massachusetts.
    Dodge & Francis make steam engines, boilers, steam sawmills, Parker water wheels, &c., using annually 140 tuns of wrought iron, 140 tuns pig iron, 100 tuns scrap do., and 1 tun steel, valued in the aggregate at $30,000; employing 75 hands, and producing 30 boilers, 10 engines, and 20 sets of Parker water wheels, valued at $80,000. The concern has been in operation ten years,—the first seven under McKay & Hoadley.
  • The 1885 book, History of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Volume II, ed. Joseph Edward Adams Smith and Thomas Cushing.
    The machine works on McKay street, now operated by William Clark & Co., were established by Gordon McKay about the year 1844. A few years afterward the firm of McKay & Harbach was formed, and a few months later, that of McKay & Hoadley. Mr Harbach being suce ceeded by John C. Hoadley. McKay & Hoadley continued to carry on the business till 1852, when they removed to Lawrence, Mass, and were succeeded by John E. Dodge and Almiron D. Francis. In the spring of 1855 David A. Clary bought out Mr. Dodge and the firm became Francis & Clary. This firm continued for ten years and in 1865 Mr. Francis sold his interest in the business, and the firm of Clary, Sedgwick & Russell was formed. Two years later Mr. Sedgwick withdrew from the business, which was continued by Clark 82 Russell until 1872 when Mr. H. S. Russell became sole proprietor of the business and owner of the property. In 1874 Mr. Russell sold the property (with the exception of the boiler shop, which he retained and has since conducted) to E. D. G. Jones. The manufacture of boilers was begun by Mr. McKay soon after he started in business, and has been continued to the present time. Mr. Russell employs about twelve men and does a business varying from twenty to forty thousand dollars per year. The firm of William Clark & Co. was formed in 1872, and consisted of William Clark, his two sons, H. C. and J. W., and E. D. G. Jones. They occupied the building opposite their present works until 1874, when the business was removed to its present location. The class of work done includes general machine and foundry work and the manufacture of rotary pumps and paper mill machinery. The business furnishes employment to about forty-five persons.
  • The 2005 book Herman Melville: A Biography, Volume 2; Volumes 1851-1891, by Hershel Parker, mentions this firm (Melville's sister married John Chipman Hoadley): "Since 1848 John C. Hoadley had lived in Pittsfield, associated with Gordon McKay in the firm of McKay & Hoadley, 'designing and constructing steam engines, water wheel, and other machinery.'"
  • The Wikipedia biography of Gordon McKay provides more background on McKay than is given here.
  • Harvard University has a biography of Gordon McKay.