Cameron McKay Records

Identifier: 99-43

Scope and Contents

The Cameron Mackay Records contains 139 maps, drawings, assembly diagrams, and drilling logs dating from 1912-1982, with the bulk from 1935-1950. The McKay material relates to many of the dredges that he worked on or designed during his career. The drawings were produced for the Natomas Company, Yuba Manufacturing, Utah Construction, and other companies who used similar dredges. Included are technical drawings of dredges, both in whole and in part. They are important in understanding the construction design specifications, methods of operation, and support mechanisms, as well as learning how the industry adapted to changing environments. In addition, the McKay records include drilling records from the Greenan Placer project and maps of the Manhattan and Tuscarora, Nevada, metal deposits. The drilling records note the geology of each drill hole and assay values. The data is important because it shows the geology of an arid placer, not at all typical of the California placer deposits.

The Department is grateful to Fred Holabird for his research and analysis of the collection. All information in the biography statement and scope and content note is based on Mr. Holabird's appraisal report.


  • 1912-1982
  • Majority of material found within 1935-1950


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

Cameron E. McKay was born in 1908 and educated as a mechanical engineer, working his way up from draftsman to management with the Natomas Company, for whom he worked from the 1930s to the 1950s. The Natomas Company was one of the largest gold dredging companies in the world, beginning in California but expanding operations of various sizes to Nevada and South America.

McKay was involved with the drilling and evaluation of the Greenah Placer property at Copper Canyon, Battle Mountain, Nevada, in the 1940s. Natomas drilled more than fifty holes to evaluate the placer gold potential. Copper Canyon became a significant open pit copper mine in the 1950s and led to subsequent exploration and development of other metals properties at Battle Mountain, including the copper-gold deposit originally operated by Duval, now owned and operated by Battle Mountain Gold.

McKay became the manager and vice president of a South American dredging company in 1954, then moved to Cerro de Pasco, one of the largest base metal mines in the world at the time, as chief engineer in 1955. In about 1957 the country underwent a revolution and in about 1960 McKay left for Utah Mining and Construction's dredging division where he worked until 1965. He worked as a consultant from 1965 until his retirement in 1980. Some of his projects included tin dredging, dredging for diamonds in Namibia, and gold dredging in South America. He received a patent for a complicated articulated dredge for offshore tin dredging.

Cameron McKay died in 1990.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box, 6 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



Cameron E. McKay was a mechanical engineer and eventually managed the Natomas Company. The collection includes maps, technical drawings, and assembly diagrams for dredges that McKay worked on or designed in his career as a mechanical engineer, produced for the Natomas Company, Yuba Manufacturing Company, Utah Mining and Construction Company and others in Nevada, Utah, and South America. Also, drilling records and maps for the Greenan placer deposits at Copper Canyon, Battle Mountain, Nevada; and maps of placer deposits at Manhattan and Tuscarora, Nevada.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Drill Logs; 2) Sand Wheel Drawings by Yuba Manufacturing Company for Round Mountain Dredging Company; 3) Stacker Ladder Assembly, Bucket Parts by Consolidated Purchasing and Design Company for Poto Dredge #1; 4) Dredge #1 Parts by Leland S. Rosner Consulting Engineer and Others for Manhattan Gold Dredging Company; 5) Bucket Parts by American Brake Shoe Company and Indeco for Yuba Manufacturing Company; 6) Dredge Sections by Natomas Company for South Platte Dredging Company; 7) Dredge Parts by Natomas Company for Natomas Dredges #5, #6, and #8; Greenan #2 and #3; and Natoma Dredge #1, #4, #5, #6, #8, and #10; 8) Dredge Parts by Natomas Company for Natoma Dredges #5, #6, and #8; and Greenan #2; 9) Miscellaneous parts by Natomas Company for Natoma #1, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, and #10; and Poto Dredge #1; 10) Derrick Guys Dredge #2 Construction by Natomas Company for Natomas Company Greenan Placers; 11) Bucket Parts by Natomas Company for Natoma Dredge #5, #6, and #8; 12) Truss, Super-structure, etc. by Natomas Company for Natoma #5, #6, and #8 13) Pump Shell, Gold Saving Tables, H, Pontoons by Natomas Company for Greenan Placers and Natoma #1, #5, #6, and #8; 14) Plan and Elevations, Various Dredges by Yuba Manufacturing for Dredge #134, Round Mountain Dredging Corporation; 15) Plan and Elevation, Drive Assembly, Poto #1 by Natomas Company for Poto #1 Natomas Company of Peru; 16) Battle Mountains Group A; 17) Battle Mountain, Group B, Copper Canyon; 18) Manhattan; 19) Tuscarora

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Jim McKay in December 1999.


Guide to the Cameron E. McKay Records
Susan Searcy
February 2000
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)