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Elijah McCoy and the "Real McCoy"  

So what does Elijah McCoy have to do with McCoy Pottery? Nothing. But, have you have you ever wondered where the term "The Real McCoy" comes from? Well I can tell you it is not McCoy Pottery.

The term "The Real McCoy" refers to an oiling device used for industrial machinery. What? A Canadian inventor named Elijah McCoy was issued US patent number 129,843 back on July 12, 1872. His invention allowed machines to remain in motion while being oiled. Elijah McCoy's simple invention revolutionized the industrial machinery for years to come. In fact, his device became so popular that people inspecting new equipment would often ask if the device contained "The Real McCoy". This later lead to the popular American expression, "the real thing" or, "The Real McCoy".

Elijah McCoy also invented an ironing board and lawn sprinkler, among other things. However it would appear that Elijah McCoy did not invent McCoy Pottery, nor did Elijah McCoy have anything to do with McCoy Pottery. However, it is entirely possible that the "Real McCoy", may have been used on some device in the the Nelson McCoy Sanitary factory.

For more information on Elijah McCoy, consult the Negro Almanac (New York: Bellwether Publishing Company.) page 639 from which this keen fact was derived.

Submitted November 17, 2004

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