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Elijah McCoy, "The Real McCoy"


Elijah McCoy (1844-1928) was born in Colchester, Ontario, Canada in 1844. He moved to Michigan after the Civil War. Employed as a railroad engineer, one of McCoy's responsibilities was to keep the moving parts of the railroad engine lubricated. This tedious task inspired McCoy to automate the lubrication process, virtually ending the need to periodically stop an engine. McCoy's device was called the "drip cup." It was a tiny container filled with oil whose flow was regulated by means of a "stopcock."

During McCoy's career, he received more than 56 patents for devices which were improved versions of his automatic lubrication process. His other inventions include the lawn sprinkler, ironing table and the steam cylinder lubricator. T

he high quality of Elijah McCoy's inventions gained such fame that the phrase "the Real McCoy" was coined to distinguish "the father of lubrication's" inventions from cheap imitations

Elijah McCoy at Biography.com

Great Americans In Science - Elijah McCoy


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Last modified: May 27, 2001