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Elijah McCoy: Inventor (Beginning Biographies)

by Garnet Jackson

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A simple biography of the black engineer who invented the automatic lubricator for railway systems and thus gave rise to the phrase "the real McCoy."

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Elijah McCoy used to love watching the trains go by when he was a little boy. He watched and watched until they stopped. He did not know why they stopped much back then. Later, he found out that the trains were stopping because the wheels needed to be oiled. Elijah knew then that he wanted to be an engineer. But it was not the right time in history for Blacks to want to be schooled, especially in the United States. Once again, from Canada to Michigan, McCoy was on the move. Next stop, Scotland. It will be here that Elijah would study mechanical engineering. Coming back to the United States was no easy task. No one was looking for or would even hire a black engineer. So Elijah had to settle for oiler. Fed up with oiling wheels, McCoy put to good use his schooling in Scotland and invented something called a lubricator in 1872. This allowed for the oiling of train wheels as the train chugged along. And it seems that even though his invention was often imitated, but never duplicated, Elijah's invention was the one that every wanted for their planes, trains, and cars, too. Everyone wanted "the Real McCoy". ( )
  J.Peterson | Apr 25, 2020 |
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A simple biography of the black engineer who invented the automatic lubricator for railway systems and thus gave rise to the phrase "the real McCoy."

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