Elijah McCoy (1843 or 1844-1929) was a mechanical engineer and inventor. McCoy’s high-quality industrial inventions (especially his steam engine lubricator) were the basis for the expression “the real McCoy,” meaning the real, authentic, or high-quality thing.
McCoy’s first invention (1872) was a revolutionary way of lubricating steam engines without having to shut them down – this automatic lubricator saved an enormous amount of time and effort in transportation and in industrial production. McCoy eventually had a total of 57 patents, and was known throughout the world for his inventions. In 1920, McCoy opened his own company, the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company.