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February 6, 2014

In honor of Black History Month, we would like to recognize the contributions that one inventor in particular has had on the transportation industry, which is Elijah McCoy.

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), McCoy invented the automatic oil cup, which became a staple in many locomotives and heavy machinery. Narrowing the focus on his contributions to transportation, this device allowed for trains to prevent frequent stopping for routine oiling, ultimately making railroad transportation more effective.

Many imitators have attempted to replicate McCoy’s invention but such attempts were unsuccessful. Some believe this phenomenon gave rise to the phrase, “the real McCoy,” although there is some question as to the accuracy of this claim.

As the great Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Because of McCoy’s contribution, he has allowed for further improvements in railroad transportation and service machinery to be made. In addition, his innovative nature has encouraged many other individuals to pursue their conceptualized ideas and transform them into something tangible.