The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 19: The Growth of Industry

Student Web Activity


In this chapter you have read about the many inventions that changed American life during the last half of the nineteenth century. Some of these inventions made travel easier. Others improved communication. The electric lightbulb helped all areas of society. Inventors like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Henry Ford became well known for their contributions to American life. Other inventors who were not as well known also created important inventions that increased the safety of Americans. In this activity you will learn more about one of these inventors, Elijah McCoy.

Destination Title: Lemelson-Mit Program

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
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Start at the Lemelson-Mit Program home page.

  • Click on Invention Dimension.
  • Under Inventor of the Week, click on Browse the Archives.
  • Click on the letter M.
  • Then click on the name Elijah McCoy.

After reading the article answer the following questions.

Why was Elijah McCoy born in Canada?
Where did McCoy study mechanical engineering?
Where did the phrase "the real McCoy" come from?
How many patents did McCoy hold when he died?
Click on Browse for a Different Invention or Inventor. Find another inventor you would like to learn more about. You may choose another African American inventor, a colonial inventor, a female inventor, or any other inventor. Prepare a 3- to 5-minute presentation about your inventor to share with the class.
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