Thursday, February 28, 2013

Elijah McCoy - An Inventor

Last weekend I went through the list of keywords people entered into their search engines that brought them to my blog. One person searched for Elijah McCoy and another person (maybe the same person?) also searched for David McCoy. David McCoy was the grandfather of my great-grandmother, so I can understand why they would have landed on my blog after typing that into their search engine. But I don’t have any ancestors that I know of named Elijah McCoy. This prompted me to post the estate files of David McCoy on my blog. You can read about them here.

I figured I would eventually come across an Elijah McCoy in my research and when I did, I would post something about him on my blog. When I was working at the library later in the week I was helping a patron select some juvenile non-fiction books on Sacajawea and on the shelf display was a book about Elijah McCoy! Evidently he was the son of slaves who loved to work on steam engines and even studied as a mechanical engineer in Scotland. However, when he came to Michigan the only job he could get was shoveling coal into the train’s firebox. He didn’t let that discourage him though. He rose above his situation and became an inventor. He invented an oil cup that would oil the train’s engine while it was running!

Monica Kulling’s biography, All Aboard! tells about Elijah McCoy’s invention of the oil cup. This book offers reader between the ages of 6 and 12 a look through pictures and descriptive text into the life of a boy given very little opportunity who makes the best of it. 

You can read more about Elijah McCoy on his Wiki page here.

So, I wonder if the person who entered “Elijah McCoy” into their search box and land on my blog was looking for the young inventor described in this book or were they looking for an ancestor by that same name?

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