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Elijah McCoy

After Elijah McCoy died on October 10, 1929 he was buried in Detroit Memorial Park Association's East Cemetery in Warren, Michigan.

A man of African descent, his dignified burial in a prominent place in a well-kept cemetery was made possible in Detroit because in 1925 The Detroit Memorial Park Association, incorporated by small group of business and professional men under the leadership of funeral director Charles C. Diggs, Sr., made it possible.

Elijah McCoy's high-quality industrial inventions (especially his steam engine lubricator) were the basis for the expression "the real McCoy," meaning the real, authentic, or high-quality thing.

McCoy was born in Colchester, Ontario, Canada, to former slaves (George and Emillia McCoy), who had fled the USA. McCoy was educated as a mechanical engineer in Edinburgh, Scotland; he then moved to Detroit, Michigan, USA. Despite his education (and due to racism), he could only get a job as a fireman and oilman on a steam-engine train, shoveling coal into a train's engine and periodically lubricating the engine.

McCoy's first invention (1872) was a revolutionary way of lubricating steam engines without having to shut them down - this automatic lubricator saved an enormous amount of time and effort in transportation and in industrial production. McCoy eventually had a total of 57 patents, and was known throughout the world for his inventions. In 1920, McCoy opened his own company, the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company.