Volume 90, Issue 79

Thursday, February 13, 1997



He's the 'Real McCoy'

Courtesy of The Ontario Black Heritage Foundation

By Jessica Hood and Pam Rwankole
Gazette writers

Elijah J. McCoy was born in Canada and educated in Scotland in the field of mechanical engineering. Upon completion of his courses, he returned to North America and settled in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

By the 1870s, he was experimenting with lubricators for steam engines. At this time, the lubrication of engines was performed by hand, meaning machinery and production had to be halted when re-oiling was required. In 1872, McCoy developed a container with a tiny stop-cock that regulated the flow of oil onto the moving elements of the engines. On July 23 of the same year, the first automatic engine was patented (Patent No. 129,843).

Since then, machines all over the world, including moon-exploration vehicles, have utilized engines based on this invention. From naval vessels to oil-drilling rigs, locomotives to construction machinery, no one would consider purchasing mechanical equipment unless it was equipped with the "Real McCoy."

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Copyright The Gazette 1997