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"Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vicinity" (Rhode Island, USA)
by Henry R. Caufield, 1897
"Biographies of Prominent Citizens"
pp. 268 - 269:
"CATTANACH, Donald D., artist, inventor and chemist, son of Duncan and Mary (Macdonald) Cattanach, came to this country in the 18th year of his age. He was born in the Highlands of Scotland, and spent his childhood there, obtaining his primary education in the schools of his native land. At the age of twelve years he was sent to London to finish his education. The Cattanach family is one of the most noted in the history of the Scottish Highlands. Upon his father's side Donald D. is a lineal descendant of 'The Cattanach', 'Cat of the Mountain', an independent Scottish chief of valor and renown of the Clan Chattan, - and on his mother's side is a descendant of the chief of the Camerons of Lochiel. His mother's ancestor was Macdonald, chief of the Clan Glengarry, who was captured at the battle of Culloden in 1746, and with many others of the defeated army was afterwards executed. After completing his academic studies in London, Mr. Cattanach began life as a chemist, and at once developed great inventive ability.
As a chemist he holds high rank, having studied and experimented in every branch of the science of chemistry. Before leaving London he invented a continuous process for the manufacture of pyroligneous acid, wood spirit, creosote and carbon for gunpowder. This process he brought to the United States in 1855 and sold to a man in Georgia. He then began the manufacture of hydrofluoric acid for the embossing and decorating of glass, and developed this branch of industry very extensively.
At the beginning of the late civil war Mr. Cattanach was employed by the members of the Marine Artillery of Providence to instruct them in the tactics of cavalry. He excelled as a swordsman, having received a military education at a school near London, it being intended that he should enter the army, but being naturally inclined to the arts he preferred coming to this country in order to follow his favorite pursuits.
For a number of years Mr. Cattanach carried on the largest decorative business in New England. He decorated several of the churches in Pawtucket and Providence and in other towns of the state. Many private dwellings also bear testimony to his artistic ability. The designs and colors were his own, and the latter possess a durability not achieved by any one else.
A very valuable invention which Mr. Cattanach has perfected, is an apparatus for the manufacture of chemically pure acetic acid for the arts and for culinary purposes, also for the manufacture of hydrocaulous and for the distillation and purification of water and other fluids, and for other valuable purposes. Among his other inventions is an improved furnace which will give the same amount of heat with one third of the coal required by ordinary furnaces, and it also consumes its own smoke. Equally valuable with the invention of the apparatus for the manufacture of acids is that for the manufacture of a substitute for leather in its various uses, the most valuable of which is a covering for top rolls in the art of cotton spinning. Mr. Cattanah has also invented a new system of filtration which is superior to any now in vogue.
He was married in 1859 to Agnes A. Leckie, twin daughter of Hugh and Mary (Drowne) Leckie. Mr. Leckie was a prominent cotton manufacturer in early life in Connecticut, but for nearly forty years carried on business in Pawtucket. He was a worthy citizen and a representative of some of the noblest blood of Scotland. Mrs. Leckie was a relative of Gilbert Stuart, the famous portrait painter, whose picture of Washington is the accepted likeness of the 'Father of his Country'. Mr. Cattanach has six children, four sons: Duncan A., a graduate of Brown University now in Colorado; John L.; Hugh L.; and Donald Charles A.; who are engaged with their father in the management of the laboratories and works at Ingrahamville; and two daughters, Mary A., and Anna V. S. Cattanach."
facing page: photo of Donald D. Cattanach
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