African-American Inventor, Master Mechanic, and Engineer Elijah McCoy worked as a train fireman and oilman for the Michigan Central Railroad. He created a device that allowed an engine to remain in motion as the device regulated oil flow into machine parts that needed constant lubrication. Patented in 1872, this invention was a revolution for the steam engine. It was in such demand that railroad men ordering the part insisted that they receive Elijah McCoy’s invention and not an inferior substitute. It its said that buyers began asking for “the real McCoy,” popularizing the expression, which eventually came to refer to anything of undisputed quality that is neither imitation nor substitute.
“the real McCoy” February 26, 2008