Elijah McCoy

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Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoyBy: Caroline Pfrang


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Lubricator Blueprint

BiographyThe expression "The Real McCoy" comes from the great inventor Elijah McCoy. He was born in 1843 in Canada. His parents were former slaves that escaped through the underground railroad. Because his parents never learned to read and write, education was very important to them for their 12 children. His parents noticed early on that Elijah had a nack for mechanics. By the time Elijah was 15, he already had an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer in Scotland. After finishing his degree and apprenticeship in engineering Elijah had a hard time finding a job. No one had ever even heard of an educated African American no less an African American engineer. The only job he could find was a fireman on a train which was very dangerous work.During his time as a fireman he noticed many problems with the engine lubrication and overheating of the trains system. It was at this time that he invented a lubricator to keep the steam engines from overheating. This way the train didn't have to stop along it's journey to cool down!He spent the next few years working on his lubricator and other inventions. He even patented his inventions. Others tried to replicate his work, but every one wanted "the real McCoys" inventions. They wanted the real thing! During this time, Elijah made many improvments to the railroad system. He loved inventing and spent all his money doing so.In 1920, Elijah died after being sick for some time. However, his work still lives on.

Historical EventsElijah grew up during the civil rights movement and he recieved a lot of discrimination during his life irreguardless of his abilities.

HardshipsElijah's first wife died only four years after they were married. He remarried and then his second wife died due to complications from a car accident.

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