Gimme the real McCoy!

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By CPSC Blogger on February 7, 2014

Celebrate African-American History Month

Did you know that asking for the “real McCoy” started with a product invented by an African American?

Mechanical engineer Elijah McCoy received a patent for an automatic steam engine lubricating device in 1872. The device made it possible for train engines to be lubricated while they ran, saving the railroad time and money. When railroad engineers wanted to make sure they received lubricators designed by him and not inferior imitations, they asked for the “real McCoy” system.

Before he died in 1929, McCoy held patents for 56 other inventions, including patents for a folding ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2001.

Just like nearly two and a half centuries ago, U.S. consumers want to be assured the products they use are what they expect. Safety is one of those expectations. Due to the work of CPSC and other federal agencies, consumers can rest assured that many products found in homes today are safer to use than ever before.

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