Elijah McCoy the Great Afro-Canadian Scientist – By Jide Uwechia

Elijah McCoy the Great Afro-Canadian Scientist

Elijah McCoy was an Afro-Canadian scientist and inventor. His parents escaped from slavery in Kentucky and travelled via “the Underground Railroad” to Canada. Mccoy was born in Colchester Ontario. He grew up a talented youth in Canada but yet faced racists discriminations which threatened to block the development of his mind. He was blocked from any meaning ful educational opportunity as there were national and regional policies in place to discourage African Canadians and African Americans in general from seeking any higher educational attainement.

So, Elijah Mccoy decided to travel out of Canada to other climes where there appeared to be more opportunities. At 15 years of age he traveled to Scotland seeking the educational opportunities from which Afro-Americans were excluded in the Americas, including then Canada.

Mccoy trained in mechanical engineering in Scotland and then moved to the United States. He was denied an engineering employment-again because he was of African descent. He instead had to take a job as a railroad fireman. In that humble position, he continued in his private time and with his own money, his true scientific calling which was the design and invention of numerous mechanical devices. He built many remarkable machines and inventions. Many of his inventions and innovations are incorporated into the fundamental design and structure of today’s automobile engines and machines.

Mccoy patented the lubricating cup in 1872. It represented the most profitable of his more than 58 patents, which included a folding ironing board and an automatic sprinkler. It revolutionized the steam engine and locomotive travel. Trains could now move continuously at high speed across the continents, delivering people and goods with an efficieny not yet matched by any other means of land travel. Mccoy’s invention was so valuable to the automotive industry that his name became a by-word. Until today, his name is daily invoked across America to associate authenticity and high standards to specific goods and services, by designating such as the “real Mccoy”.

– By

Jide Uwechia


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