Elijah McCoy Revolutionized Trains with Automatic Lubrication 

As railways boomed in the 19th century, trains relied on frequent refueling and manual lubrication of hot, moving parts. Laborers wasted countless hours re-greasing and oiling clumsy steam components during layovers. Such crude maintenance frustrated train engineers and rail bosses alike in an accelerating world demanding more efficiency.  

Enter black inventor Elijah McCoy, whose mechanical savvy and work ethic matched the challenge. McCoy pioneered devices enabling self-lubrication of steam systems. His automatic “lubricating cup” continuously greased machineries mid-operation, all without stopping. This let trains run reliably at peak speeds for vastly longer durations. 

McCoy’s revolutionary oil cups became ubiquitous across American railways. Competitors peddled imitation versions, but conductors insisted on McCoy’s authentic, premium models. Thus was born the iconic phrase “the real McCoy” denoting outstanding quality and reliability.   

Beyond locomotive lubrication, McCoy garnered over 50 other patents. He introduced enduring innovations like ironing boards foldable for storage plus ergonomic furniture for efficient factories. Throughout a prolific career this virtuoso tinkerer chased progress through practical inventions.

McCoy overcame systemic prejudice facing 19th century black professionals. His engineering excellence shattered harmful stereotypes in technical fields while bettering industry. He embodies the notion that talent paired with opportunity drives human potential. Just as McCoy kept the golden age of rail transport humming, he motivates others to pick up tools improving life’s machinery however possible.