Home » Inventor » McCoy, Elijah

McCoy, Elijah

Born: 1843 AD
Died: 1929 AD

1843 – He was born on the 2nd day of May of this year. He wanted to work as an engineer, but was frustrated in this goal due to racial discrimination. After studying engineering in Edinburgh, Scotland and returning home to the U.S, he found work as a firefighter and oiler at the Michigan Central Railroad.


1868 – McCoy married Ann Elizabeth Stewart in this year; she died four years later. He remarried the next year to Mary Eleanor Delaney and moved to Detroit.


1972 – McCoy invented an automatic lubricator for oiling the steam engines of locomotives, boats, and so on. For this he obtained his first patent, "Improvement in Lubricators for Steam-Engines" (U.S. Patent 129,843 ) on the 23rd of July of this year.


1920 – He continued to invent until late in life, obtaining as many as 57 patents mostly related to lubrication, but also including a folding ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. Lacking the capital with which to manufacture his lubricators in large numbers, he usually assigned his patent rights to his employers or sold them to investors. Lubricators with the McCoy name were not manufactured until this year, near the end of his career, when he formed the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company.


1922 – He had been a resident of the Eloise Hospital, a sanitarium in Westland Michigan, also known as the Michigan State Asylum before his death, suffering from dementia.


1929 – He died at age 85, on the 10th of October of this year in Eloise, Michigan, United States of America.


1975 – The city celebrated Elijah McCoy Day, as officials placed a historic marker at the site of his home. The city also named a street for him.