NPR studies McCoy’s dad and mom escaped slavery in Kentucky utilizing the Underground Railroad, earlier than settling in Canada and giving beginning to Elijah in 1844. On the age of 25, McCoy traveled to Scotland to check mechanical engineering, nonetheless, when he returned to Michigan the place his dad and mom relocated, he couldn’t get a job attributable to his race.
In consequence, McCoy ended up working as a fireman for the Central Michigan Railroad, the place one among his jobs included relubricating engine parts. On the time, engines needed to be stopped, lubricated, then restarted once more, which was wildly inefficient.
That led McCoy to his first huge thought, an computerized lubricator that saved engines oiled whereas in operation. The inventor patented the automated lubricator in 1872. The innovation grew to become an instantaneous smash hit and the lubricator shortly discovered its method into “long-distance locomotives, transatlantic ships, and manufacturing facility machines,” in accordance with the Nationwide Inventors Corridor of Fame.
Nevertheless, the invention additionally led to a variety of knockoff merchandise. It’s suspected, though not confirmed, that so as to keep away from knock-offs, clients would request “the actual McCoy,” a time period nonetheless used right now to replicate authenticity when buying a product.
McCoy obtained greater than 50 sufferers throughout his profession, most of which had t6o take care of lubricating methods. Moreover, McCoy additionally invented a folding ironing board and a garden sprinkler.
McCoy lived to the age of 85 in what’s now referred to as Westland, Michigan in 1929 attributable to accidents ensuing from a automobile crash seven years earlier that took the lifetime of his spouse Mary. Town of Detroit has acknowledged the inventor with a number of historic markers throughout town together with on the website of his residence and his first workshop.
In 2001, McCoy was elected to the Nationwide Inventors Corridor of Fame in Alexandria, Virginia.