Elijah McCoy was from Canada. His parents were former slaves in the South (USA).
Elijah was known for his development of 57 patents, including a cup that fed lubricating oil to machine bearings through a small bore tube. It was known as an ‘automatic oil cup’ and would become standard equipment on all trains.
While working as a locomotive fireman and oiler for the Michigan Central Railroad he saw a need. A fireman on a train was responsible for fueling the steam engine and the oiler lubricated the engine's moving parts as well as the train's axles and bearings. Because of his training, Elijah was able to identify and solve the problems of engine lubrication and overheating. He developed a lubricator for steam engines that did not require the train to stop. His lubricator used steam pressure to pump oil wherever it was needed. Elijah’s first patent was official on July 12, 1872 with additional improvements coming over the years.
Years later Elijah opened his own company named, Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company in Detroit, Michigan in 1920. They manufactured and sold his advanced graphite lubricators for air brakes.
Year: 1851; Census Place: Colchester, Essex County, Canada West (Ontario)
"Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1952," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KF7Y-YR8 : 12 December 2014), Elijah Mccoy, 10 Oct 1929; citing Nankin, Wayne, Michigan, United States, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing; FHL microfilm 1,973,146