Black History Person of the Week – Elijah McCoy – Inventor
February is Black History Month, so every week I’ll showcase a different influential person in Black History. This week’s notable person has always been one of my favorite inventors! You KNOW you’ve had an impact on history when your name is used as a catch phrase!
The term “THE REAL McCOY” was coined in reference to the impeccable reputation that Elijah McCoy had established for himself. So whenever anyone wanted to accentuate the authenticity or quality of anything, they would say, “Oh yeah, it’s the REAL McCoy” no matter WHAT they were talking about! How cool is THAT?!?!
According to Wikipedia … “Elijah J. McCoy (May 2, 1844 – October 10, 1929) was a Canadian-American inventor and engineer, who was notable for his 57 U.S. patents, most to do with lubrication of steam engines…The saying the real McCoy’, meaning the real thing, has been associated with Elijah McCoy’s invention of an oil-drip cup, for which he was well known. One theory is that railroad engineers’ looking to avoid inferior copies would request it by name, and inquire if a locomotive was fitted with “the real McCoy system”. This possible origin was mentioned in Elijah McCoy’s biography at the National Inventors Hall of Fame”.
And to add to his credit (as if he needed it) a lot of his invention in cooling and lubricating system are STILL in use today in many forms. So hat’s off to Elijah “THE REAL” McCoy.
Check back for next week’s Black History Person of the Week and if you have any suggestions of your own, feel free to let me know!