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McKay, Gordon (04 May 1821–19 October 1903), inventor and industrialist, was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Michael McKay, a manufacturer and politician, and Catherine Gordon Dexter. Possessing a delicate constitution, he received little formal education. Feeling that outdoor work might improve his health, McKay prepared for a career in engineering. At age sixteen he went to work for the Boston & Albany Railroad in the engineering department, and he later held a similar post with the Erie Canal. Having gained valuable practical experience and eager to direct his own firm, McKay returned to Pittsfield in 1845 and opened a machine shop that specialized in maintaining paper and cotton mill machinery. In that year he married Agnes Jenkins. They had no children, and the union ended in divorce several years later....