Ypsilanti in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Real McCoy
Among the many contributions to the Industrial Revolution few are more important than the lubricating cup, invented by Elijah McCoy. He was born in Canada, educated in Scotland and made Ypsilanti his home. As a fireman on the Michigan Central Railroad, it became clear to him that too much time was wasted on the process of oiling the engines. His invention, patented in 1872 was a cup attached to the machinery which enabled it to run efficiently without interuption.
McCoy had over forty patents during his lifetime. His inventions were so popular with industrialists, that when inquiring about a device, they always wanted to be sure that it was the "real McCoy."
Elijah McCoys parents had earlier escaped to Canada on the Underground Railroad. The family moved to Ypsilanti in the early 1850s. His father was a skilled cigar maker who had purchased his own freedom. Using his trade as a cover, he hid many runaway slaves in the false bottom of his wagon as he traveled to Detroit with his cargo of cigars.
In Michigan: In 1863, Company K, the first Michigan Colored Regiment was formed. By the end of the Civil War, more than 1,600 men had fought in the black units from Michigan.
American Events: In 1896, during President William McKinley's term of office, the Hawaiian Islands became American
Donated by The Depot Town Association - 1998
Erected 1998 by Depot Town Association.
Location. 42° 14.769′ N, 83° 36.596′ W. Marker is in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is on East Cross Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is along the sidewalk between 29 and 33 East Cross Street, about 350 feet west of North River Road. Marker is at or near this postal address: 29 East Cross Street, Ypsilanti MI 48198, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Michigan Central Railroad Gardens (here, next to this marker); The Oliver House (here, next to this marker); Michigan Central Railroad Depot (here, next to this marker); The Last Hudson Dealership (here, next to this marker); The Thompson Building (here, next to this marker); Ypsilanti Woolen Mill Company (here, next to this marker); Early Days in Depot Town (a few steps from this marker); Michigan Central Freighthouse (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ypsilanti.
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 10, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 79 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.