Elijah McCoy Cause of death, Biography, Invention, & Facts

Elijah McCoy cause of death

Inventor of lubrication systems for steam engines, Elijah McCoy cause of death was high blood pressure. He died on October 10, 1929, in the Alois Infirmary in Detroit, Michigan. At that time his age was 85 years.

McCoy’s inventions greatly influenced the efficiency and safety of steam engines during the Industrial Age.

Elijah McCoy biography

Full name:Elijah McCoy
Profession:Engineer & Inventor
Best Known for:inventor of lubrication systems for steam engines
Born:May 2, 1844, Colchester, Ontario, Canada
Death:October 10, 1929, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Education:Mechanical Engineer, Edinburgh University, Scottland
Age:85 Years
Parents:George McCoy and Mildred McCoy
Spouse:Ann Elizabeth Stewart (1868-1872)
Mary Eleanora Delaney (1873-1922)

Who was Elijah McCoy?

Elijah McCoy was a famous 19th-century African-American inventor and engineer known for his significant contributions to the field of mechanical engineering, particularly lubrication systems for steam engines. He lived from 1844 to 1929.

He was born on May 2, 1844 in Colchester, Ontario, Canada, to tobacco merchant George McCoy and Mildred McCoy.

His parents were formerly enslaved African-Americans who escaped from Kentucky to Canada via the Underground Railroad. After this his family moved to Detroit, Michigan, USA and then after a few days settled in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

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McCoy’s family was very large. He was one of 12 brothers and sisters. Since childhood, he liked to fix broken machines and improve them in various ways and experiment on them, due to which his love for all these things started increasing. His parents were very impressed with his talent.

Where did Elijah McCoy study?

McCoy’s early education took place in a black school in Colchester Township as discrimination between white and black communities in America was at its peak at that time. In the year 1850, under the amended Common School Act, these schools were kept in a separate category.

McCoy moved to the Edinburgh, Scotland in 1860 when he was 15, and completed studies in mechanical engineering at the University of Edinburgh. them during their studies had to face many challenges due to racial discrimination.

How did Elijah McCoy start his career?

Elijah McCoy began his career as a fireman and oiler for the Michigan Southern Railroad. At that time, America was a victim of complete discrimination, due to which black people did not get skilled professional jobs and even if they did get them, they were of lower class.

McCoy’s job was to fuel the steam engine and maintain the oiler to lubricate the train’s axles and bearings. At that time, trains had to be stopped periodically and then lubricated to prevent overheating.

His early experiences and his training in mechanical engineering taught him a lot about engine lubrication and overheating. He got a lot of help in identifying and solving prob

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What is the significance of Elijah McCoy’s inventions?

In 1872 McCoy invented a lube cup that supplied lubricating oil to the bearings of machines through a tube and there was no problem in stopping the trains. This was the biggest success for the Railways at that time. It also eliminated all the problems of lubrication of ships, factories etc.

His invention revolutionized the industry, earning him the nickname “The Original McCoy”. He was also honored with the National Inventors Hall of Fame Award.

Apart from this, he made more than 72 inventions including steam cylinder lubricant, lubrication system for airbrake, ironing table, lawn sprinkler which are still used in our daily routine.

Regarding his invention the Michigan Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics stated that by 1899, McCoy lubricants were in use on almost all North American railroads.

How did Elijah McCoy impact the industrial revolution?

Elijah McCoy’s invention of the automatic lubricator gave a new dimension to America’s development. This device was invented when trains running in America had to stop to lubricate and oil the engines which consumed a lot of fuel and time. But McCoy’s brainchild, the Lubricating Cup Device, got rid of all these problems.

Elijah McCoy’s automatic lube cup device had an impact throughout the world, including America. Because with the help of this cup device, more work could be done in less time and the engine did not have to be stopped.

By 1899 his equipment dominated American industry. Their equipment was used in large factories, shipping corporations, and railway engines.

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This innovation played an important role in the development of transportation systems, especially railroads, and contributed to the development of industries dependent on steam power in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Wendy Towle, author of The Real McCoy: The Life of an African-American Inventor, points out that the product of McCoy’s genius has always been at the forefront of American technology and innovation. They are also used in machinery, construction equipment, naval boats, and space exploration vehicles.

What was Elijah McCoy’s Personal Life?

Elijah McCoy married twice in her life. His first marriage was to Ann Elizabeth Stewart in 1868, but unfortunately his wife died.

He then married Mary Eleanor Delaney in 1873, which lasted for about 49 years. Eleanor died in 1922 in a car accident, in which he was seriously injured.

Shorts Notes

  • Elijah McCoy was a black mechanical engineer of African-American origin.
  • Elijah McCoy’s family were fugitives who fled Canada via the Underground Railroad.
  • He completed his mechanical engineering studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • He was married twice, to Ann Elizabeth Stewart (1868–1872) and to Mary Eleanor Delaney (1873–1922).
  • His most famous and first invention was the lubricating cup device, which proved to be more effective in trains.
  • He also invented the folded ironing board and the lawn sprinkler.
  • He founded the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company in 1920 when he was 76 years old.
  • He died on October 10, 1929, of senile dementia caused by high blood pressure.
  • McCoy received approximately 72 patents during his lifetime.
  • Some streets in Michigan are named after Elijah McCoy.
  • In 1975, the city of Detroit commemorated Elijah McCoy Day.


Overall, Elijah McCoy’s inventions played an important role in the development of mechanical engineering and industrial technology. His invention was widely adopted in various industries, including railroads, shipping, and manufacturing, earning him the nickname “The Real McCoy”. His contribution to mechanical engineering left an indelible mark on history which persists even today.

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