If you’ve ever used the phrase “The real McCoy,” you may be interested to discover where it originated. Used as a means of describing something which is genuine, original or not an imitation, the phrase has been accredited by some as a reference to Elijah McCoy. Born in 1844, McCoy was a prolific engineer and inventor who worked in both Canada and the United States. During his lifetime, he received recognition by acquiring 57 patents, the most famous of which was for an automatically lubricating oil cup used in steam engines. It is said that McCoy’s system was so superior to all imitators that railroad engineers insisted that their trains be outfitted with “The real McCoy” system. Whether this was the first use of the phrase is debated by some historians. A point that is not debated is the extent of McCoy’s legacy. Holding patents for inventions ranging from ironing boards to lawn sprinklers, he was credited by the famous African American educator and political leader, Booker T Washington, as the most prolific black inventor in history at the time. Dying in 1929, McCoy left behind a legacy, which many believe revolutionized the field of industrial lubrication.

By Buster Bytes