Have you ever heard the phrase, “The Real McCoy?” The phrase dates back to African American inventor/engineer, Elijah McCoy! Believed to have been born in Canada on May 2,1844 to escaped slaves, McCoy was notable for over 50 patented ideas.
As a young man, McCoy went to Scotland to apprentice as a mechanical engineer. After returning to his family in Michigan, the best job he could get was as a oilman and fireman on a steam-powered locomotive. Using his expertise, McCoy solved a common problem faced by the railroad system during his time. He created an oil cup that allowed an engine to remain in motion and receive constant lubrication, as opposed to regularly stopping the train to manually lubricate it.
McCoy’s invention was such a success that when ordering the part people insisted that they receive McCoy’s lubricator and not an inferior substitute. Buyers began to ask for “the real McCoy,” popularizing the expression that is still used today!
Want to learn more about Mr. Elijah McCoy? Be sure to take a peek at some of the books below and visit my Elijah McCoy webpage for more information.
Want to go even further, check out the FREE notebooking printables and activity pages I have created for our unit study on Elijah McCoy! There are over 40 printable pages available to download!
This post is part of the iHomeschool Network “Birthday Lessons in May” blog hop! We have teamed up to share mini-units for famous historical figures whose birthdays are in May! Be sure to head over to check out some of the other May Birthday Lessons!