The Real McCoy: The Life of Elijah McCoy, Inventor

Have you ever heard the expression, "the real McCoy"? It means something is genuine. There are several possible sources of this phrase. One involves an invention by a man named Elijah McCoy.

Elijah McCoy was born free in Canada on May 2, 1844. His parents were former slaves. They escaped from the U.S. to Canada using the Underground Railroad. Once they reached Canada, they found freedom. When Elijah was three years old, the family moved back to the United States and settled in Michigan.

Elijah was interested in mechanical devices. He showed a special talent for working with tools and machines. When Elijah was fifteen years old, his parents sent him to Scotland to study mechanical engineering. In Scotland, he learned how to design and build his own inventions. When Elijah finished his engineering education in Scotland, he sailed back to America.

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