Get to Know

Elijah McCoy

Discover why we turned Elijah into a superhero
Superhero Persona
Real-life Identity
Features in
Superhero Backstory
When Elijah was studying at Edinburgh University he became fascinated with Trains. One day during a routine maintenance of a train, Dr Fossil Fuel ignited an oil spill which combined with an overloaded computer system and exploded. Elijah gained his superpowers that day. Elijah soon discovered he could control steam and used his ability to try and get revenge against Dr Fossil Fuel.

Elijah can create, shape and manipulate steam.
Elijah J. McCoy
Occupation: Inventor and engineer
Born: 1844
Died: 1929
Nationality: Canadian

Elijah was a Canadian engineer. His most famous invention helped trains run faster.

Elijah's family moved to America when he was a boy and they arranged for Elijah to study mechanical engineering in Scotland. When he returned to America he had trouble finding work so he became a fireman with the Michigan Central Railroad. One of his duties was oiling steam engine parts. In 1872, he developed an automatic lubricator that spread oil evenly over a train's engine while it was still moving. The invention allowed trains to run for long periods of time without stopping.

The phrase "the real McCoy" is thought to be linked to Elijah.
Top Quarkz
Elijah features in our signature card game, Top Quarkz. The game supports development of maths, literacy and decision making skills all while learning about some of the most impressive scientific discoveries throughout history. Elijah also features in our colouring book, Newton's Rainbow.

We've explained the drawing and his playing card below so you can learn more about both his superhero and real-life identity.
Elijah can create, shape and manipulate steam.
In the background is Edinburgh Castle. At age 15 Elijah was sent to Scotland for an apprenticeship and was later certified as mechanical engineer.
Elijah's shield is the Smoke box door of a train. This was the hinged circular door on steam engines that allowed service access to the smoke box to fix air leaks and remove char.
Elijah invented an automatic lubricator for oiling the steam engines of locomotives.
Elijah died in Michigan, on October 10, 1929.
John Ramsbottom was an English mechanical engineer. He made steam locomotives in the 1800s.
Many trains are now powered by electricity, which is why we chose electricity as Elijah's weakness.
Top Quarkz Card Explained
Each drawing we create has one or more hidden treasure(s) about our superheroes' life experiences, depictions in art, jobs or discoveries. Did you find the ones hidden in this drawing?
Hidden Treasures
We have packed a lot into our cards - from amazing imagined superpowers to biographical information and hidden treasures.
What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?
Mechanical engineers is to design and develop new systems and technologies that can be used to extend our physical abilities and simplify our lives.
Video credit: Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The Invention of the Train
The Dr. Binocs Show covers the invention of the train.
Video credit: Peekaboo Kidz
In this video you can find out more about Elijah! Video credit: Foundation for Economic Education
Learn more about Elijah
What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do?
What's it really like to be an engineer? What do they really do all day? You're about to find out in this video from the National Science Foundation
Video credit: National Science Foundation
A fun, informative animation that describes the major parts of a train and the process of converting coal-fueled steam to kinetic energy.
Video credit: Fun Station 4 Kids
How Do Steam Engines Work?
Fun Facts about Steam Engines
1. Thomas Savery built the first steam engine in 1698.

2. Steam engines powered trains, boats and even huge ships. The Titanic was steam powered!

3. Coal is a dirty fuel which is why people don't use steam engines very much anymore.

4. Many trains are now powered by electricity, which is cleaner.
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