Elijah mccoy

From invention to education: The story of Elijah McCoy's college life

3 Min Read

Elijah McCoy, an iconic figure in the world of inventions, left an indelible mark on the engineering industry. But where did Elijah McCoy go to college? This article seeks to shed light on this often overlooked aspect of his remarkable journey.

The Early Days

Before delving into McCoy’s educational path, it’s important to understand the backdrop of his life. Born in 1844 in Ontario, Canada, to fugitive slaves from Kentucky, his early life was challenging. Yet, these challenges were about to mold one of the most influential inventors of his time.

The College Quest

Elijah’s inherent curiosity and brilliance were evident early on. Recognizing this, his parents wanted him to have the best education possible. As a result, they sent him to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he honed his skills in mechanical engineering. This was a monumental decision, given the limited opportunities for Black individuals in North America during that period.

Why Edinburgh?

Edinburgh was not just a random choice; it was one of the world’s leading centers for engineering and technical studies. The city’s esteemed educational institutions offered a fertile ground for McCoy to flourish and thrive. It was here that McCoy’s passion for engineering was cemented.

Innovations Post-College

Armed with knowledge, McCoy returned to the U.S. and began his journey in the world of inventions. His studies in Edinburgh had provided him with a strong foundation. He soon patented his first invention: an automatic lubricator for steam engines, which revolutionized the railway industry.

It’s worth noting that while many people associate McCoy with his automatic lubricator, he patented over 50 inventions during his lifetime. Many of these inventions bore the stamp of the quality education he received, showcasing the intricate knowledge he gleaned from his college days.

The “Real McCoy”

The term “Real McCoy,” often used to describe something genuine or authentic, is believed by many to have been coined in reference to Elijah’s high-quality inventions. While its exact origin is debated, there’s no denying the authentic mark McCoy left on the engineering world. The knowledge and expertise he gained during his college days in Edinburgh were pivotal in shaping his legacy.

Wrapping Up

Elijah McCoy’s story is not just about his inventions, but also about perseverance, determination, and the pursuit of knowledge. His decision to study in Edinburgh, and the support he received from his family, played a significant role in his success.

For anyone wondering “where did Elijah McCoy go to college?”, it’s clear that his college journey in Scotland was instrumental in his accomplishments. As we reflect on his contributions, it’s evident that education, passion, and the right environment can indeed create wonders.