Walter L. Fay, who has been prominently identified with manufacturing interests for many years, is a son of Edmund B. Fay, who was born in Fulton, Oswego county, New York, and was finally engaged in the wholesale dry goods business in New York City.
Walter L. Fay was born in Auburn, Cayuga county, New York, his mother’s home, February 5, 1859. He was educated in the Pingry School, Elizabeth, New Jersey, from which he was graduated at the age of eighteen years. He immediately entered upon his business career, working for his father for a short time, then, in 1879, entered the employ of D. M. Osborne & Company, Auburn, as an office boy, receiving a salary of fifty cents a day. He commenced at the bottom of the ladder, and by his faithful attention to the duties entrusted to him, he mounted steadily until he had attained an important position in the office. At the expiration of four years he accepted a position with A. W. Stevens & Son, the senior member of this firm being a pioneer in the field of thresher and steam engine building. After working for this firm for thirteen years, Mr. Fay started in business for himself, associating himself in a partnership with Ernest S. Bowen, the firm doing business under the name of Fay & Bowen, and manufacturing bicycle spokes and spoke nipples at Auburn. They operated this business very successfully for five years and then made a cash sale of the enterprise to an eastern combination. Under the same firm name they commenced the manufacture of gasoline engines and launches in Auburn, and in the fall of 1903 the business was incorporated, and in the following year removed to Geneva, where they are manufacturing internal combustion engines, both marine and stationary, operated on gasoline, kerosene, natural or artificial gas. They also manufacture launches, and employ an average of ninety men. Their sales extend to all parts of the world, and they ship to nearly every foreign country. The plant has a frontage of two hundred and thirtyfive feet on a paved street, and five hundred feet on the lake and canal, which makes it admirably adapted for the building of launches and boats of all kinds, as they can be easily run through to the Great Lakes, the Hudson and the St. Lawrence rivers. Mr. Fay has served as president of the chamber of commerce for two years, and as a director for four years; president of the Automobile Club for one year; has been trustee of the Kanadasaga Club; and is a member of the Auburn City Club. His political opinions are those of the Independent party, and he is a member of the Presbyterian church.
Mr. Fay married, 1888, Minnie G., born in Auburn, New York, 1867, daughter of J. A. Gordinear. Children: Mildred, born September 8, 1892; Lester Thorpe, born August 8, 1897.