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At just 15 years old, Elijah McCoy ventured to Scotland and came back with a degree in Mechanical Engineering! Within his lifetime, he held 57 patents and invented many well-known popular products including an automatic lubrication system for steam engines.

The term “real McCoy” was coined after other companies tried copying his products, but did not work as well. People would say they wanted the “Real McCoy.”

As the son of two runaway slaves, McCoy is a true inspiration and a respected member in the industry!

Citation: Kershner, Kate. “Famous Black Engineers Throughout History.” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 27 Jan. 2020,