The Real McCoy
“It’s the real McCoy.” You might have heard this expression before, but who—or what—is a McCoy, real or otherwise? The saying has been used for generations to declare its’  (61) the genuine article, the original and best. [A] While its origin is disputed, many people believe the expression was inspired by the inventions of a Canadian American engineer named, (62) Elijah McCoy. McCoy, a railroad worker who, as a teenager, had formally studied mechanical engineering, revolutionized railroad and factory operations, affecting both incredibly  (63)with his dozens of patented product

While working for the Michigan Central Railroad in the 1870s, then (64) McCoy was assigned to work on the wheel bearings and axles of trains(65)Trains needed to come to a halt after only a few miles of travel so that the moving parts could be oiled by hand—a tedious, time-consuming process. McCoy invented a device that released oil while a train was in motion, substantially reducing the number(66) of maintenance stops had the effect of making (67) travel more
efficient. [B] This automatic lubricating device became the first of his fifty-seven patents

McCoy applied the principles of this invention to other engineering challenges. Factories in the late 1800s, for example,  (68) increasingly relied on steam engines to power factory machines. As with trains, therefore  (69) many of the machines’ parts had to be oiled manually. McCoy, recognizing  (70) the similarities between train wheels and factory machines, designed automated oilers for steam engines. These innovations allowed factories to give machines a certain timelessness, (71) increasing factory productivity and, as a result, profits. (72)

McCoy’s inventions were an instant success. [C] Not surprisingly, other inventors inundated the market with similar—and usually inferior—devices. [D] Supposedly, factory owners who wanted a product proven to do it (73) would ask if their purchase was “the real McCoy.” McCoy’s inventions would continue to benefit industries in the United States well into the twentieth century, as his name became synonymous with quality and authenticity. (74)


65. In the preceding sentence, the writer is considering revising the phrase “assigned to work on” to “responsible for oiling.”

Given that the revised phrase is accurate, should the writer make this revision?

  • A. Yes, because the revision specifically describes the procedures McCoy had to follow as he maintained the wheel bearings and axles of trains.

  • B. Yes, because the revision provides a clearer connection between McCoy’s main task as a railroad worker and his first patented device.

  • C. No, because the revision doesn’t indicate whether McCoy chose to oil the wheel bearings and axles of trains by hand.

  • D. No, because the revision doesn’t make clear whether McCoy had worked on trains for other railroad companies.