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African American inventor, lived 1843-1929.

Elijah McCoy was born in Colchester, Ontario, Canada, in 1843 to George and Mildred McCoy. His parents were escaped slaves, who had fled from Kentucky and made it to Canada, riding the Underground Railroad.

He went on to study in Scotland and became an engineer, though he couldn't find work when he returned to the US. Later in life Elijah invented self-lubricating devices, which allowed a machines to be lubricated while they were still in operation.

According to legend, buyers insisted on McCoy lubrication systems when buying new machines and would take nothing less than the "Real McCoy." The device became so universal that no heavy-duty machinery was considered adequate without it.