Charles Steinmetz
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005

Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents



In the realm of science, all attempts to find any evidence of superhatural beings, of metaphysical conceptions, as God, immortality, infinity, etc., thus have failed, and if we are honest, we must confess that in science there exists no God, no immortality, no soul or mind as distinct from the body. -- Charles Steinmetz, quoted in American Freeman, July, 1941, quoted from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

 No evidence or proof of the existence of a God has been found in the phenomena of nature, based on experience. No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.

Here's an interesting anecdote, as told by Charles M. Vest, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during commencement on June 4th, 1999. "In the early years of this century, Steinmetz was brought to General Electric's facilities in Schenectady, New York. GE had encountered a performance problem with one of their huge electrical generators and had been absolutely unable to correct it. Steinmetz, a genius in his understanding of electromagnetic phenomena, was brought in as a consultant - not a very common occurrence in those days, as it would be now. Steinmetz also found the problem difficult to diagnose, but for some days he closeted himself with the generator, its engineering drawings, paper and pencil. At the end of this period, he emerged, confident that he knew how to correct the problem. After he departed, GE's engineers found a large "X" marked with chalk on the side of the generator casing. There also was a note instructing them to cut the casing open at that location and remove so many turns of wire from the stator. The generator would then function properly. And indeed it did. Steinmetz was asked what his fee would be. Having no idea in the world what was appropriate, he replied with the absolutely unheard of answer that his fee was $1000. Stunned, the GE bureaucracy then required him to submit a formally itemized invoice. They soon received it. It included two items:

1. Marking chalk "X" on side of generator: $1.

2. Knowing where to mark chalk "X": $999."

1865–1923: Steinmetz, Charles Proteus

German writer, scientist, mathematician and electrical engineer considered a genius due to his many discoveries and inventions.  He taught electricity and wrote books on the theory of alternating current.  He studied the properties of lightning and made many brilliant discoveries, credited with over 200 patents. Overall, his life is remembered as helping inaugurate the electrical era in the United States.
Steinmetz was raised in poverty and handicapped with a hunchback. His early school performance was poor: at age eight he was having trouble with multiplication tables, but by the time he was ten, he was one of the school’s brightest pupils, showing an unusual capability in mathematics, physics, and classical literature. He graduated from gymnasium with honours, entered the University of Breslau in 1883, and devoured books on every subject from mathematics and economics to literature and medicine. As example of his mind was memorization of the logarithmic tables which he could manipulate mentally to solve problems in a few seconds. Most telling, he was fascinated with the study of electricity, but courses in University were short on theory or practice.
While he felt himself an outsider because of his misshapen form, he was drawn to the socialist circles in Breslau, at first through a "Mathematictics Association" where he met friends full of enthusiasm for utopian settlements in America. He joined the student socialist club, banned by the government and when some party members were arrested, Steinmetz took over the editorship of the party newspaper, "The People's Voice." He fled Germany after university because of socialist activities, arriving in New York on July 1, 1889.
He got his start in electrical engineering research in the company which was to become General Electric, enjoying a long career in industry and as a university professor. In 1892 Steinmetz reported to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers on his law of hysteresis loss, which would increase efficiency in electrical apparatus.
On December 8, 1891 the Law of Hysteresis was explained in the magazine, "The Electrical Engineer", and on January 19, 1892 it was the topic of a speech by Steinmetz to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in New York City. His work was immediately recognized as a classic by the few who understood it, and the constant he calculated for this loss has remained a part of electrical engineering vocabulary. It was just three years since he had landed in America, and Steinmetz was famous at age 27 in engineering circles. At about the same time, Steinmetz Americanized his first name to Charles and substituted Proteus, a university nickname, for his two middle names. His middle name Proteus, was named after the Greek god who could take on any shape or size.
His work was immediately recognized as classic by those few who understood it, and the constant he calculated has remained part of electrical engineering vocabulary. This law governing hysteresis loss, allowed engineers to calculate and minimize losses of electric power due to magnetism in their designs before construction. Steinmetz' reputation as a key factor in electrical engineering was assured at the age of 27.
He considered his three most important accomplishments to be: (1) his work in the field of electromagnetism, (2) the development of a practical, simplified method of managing and calculating values for alternating current using complex numbers, and (3) his research on lightning phenomena. As professor 1902–23 at Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., Steinmetz wrote many scientific papers and a standard texts. He remained a socialist and was president of the Schenectady board of education.  In his later years Steinmetz also engaged in public affairs to a considerable degree, notably as president of the Schenectady city council. He was president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.  
Steinmetz died October 26, 1923, Schenectady, New York.

 Steinmetz experimented with the effects of lighting and synthetic fertilizers on the growth of plants. He also used his greenhouse for raising orchids and cacti. His greenhouse, in which he grew unusual plants, was often the subject of -- not always friendly -- articles. It was said that he preferred ugly, prickly plants.


Rarely was he seen without one of his favorite Blackstone panetella cigars. Frequently on Friday nights his colleagues would visit his house at 1297 Wendell Avenue, bullt in the General Electric Plot area where the homes of other General Electric executives had been built. He had formed a club, “The Society for the Adjustment of Salaries.” The members spent the evening and late hours playing draw poker. During a crackdown on smoking at the G.E. labs, Steinmetz was told that his ever-present cigar had to go. His reply is reported to have been "If the cigar goes, Steinmetz goes!"
Another of Steinmetz's distinguished visitors was Albert Einstein who came to Schenectedy in 1921. It was in that year Einstein received the Nobel Prize in physics.
Charles Steinmetz formed the Steinmetz Electric Motor Car Co. in 1920 to designed prototypes of several electric vehicles. The company was in Brooklyn, where it produced an industrial truck and a lightweight delivery car. The first electrical Steinmetz truck hit the road in early 1922 by climbing a steep hill in Brooklyn as a publicity stunt. In October, the company claimed to have developed a five-passenger coupe. Steinmetz planned for the company to turn out 1,000 trucks and 300 cars annually, but that was cut short by his death in 1923. The company folded shortly after Steinmetz's death when a lawsuit from a shareholder revealed that the company had misrepresented the number of cars being produced.
Dr. Steinmetz was not only a scientist but a thinker and writer as well. Steinmetz did not abandon his socialist ideals, but tried to find a common denominator for them and the American economic system in which he played so prominent a role. He wrote his book, "America and the New Time", in which he urged a four-hour day. The fact that Germany, to which he urged a four-hour day. The fact that Germany, to which he was still emotionally attached, was at war against his chosen home, America, affected him profoundly. Since he spoke his mind, he suffered severe attacks, which he disregarded. Even while World War I was going on, he propagated the idea of a united Europe -- without, however, receiving much of an echo. He also wrote about racism in America. Steinmetz was influenced by several factors in his life. His religion, background, and occupation all added to the ideals that he espoused in his works. His scientific and philosophic works have been read and analyzed by other scholars, but the original works are still fresh.
Steinmetz was never married, fearful that deformed children like himself would be born, but had "acquired" a family by adopting a young engineer, J.L. Hayden, who later married and lived in the house with his wife and children that Charles had built for them. He loved children and was loved by them.

He almost single-handedly reformed the schools of his adopted city, and provided a Christmas present for every orphan in town. He also loved animals and his house was like a zoo with pet crows, squirrels, raccoons, cranes, dogs, a pet monkey named “Jenny,” etc. living there. Neighbors brought injured animals to him to be cared for.

 Charles Proteus Steinmetz died in his sleep on October 26, 1923, of heart failure.
He wished for his students "the spirit of divine discontent, for without it the world would stand still."
Charles P. Steinmetz once remarked, “I want to say that absolutely all the success I have had has been due to my thorough study of mathematics.” 
A friend said "Chapters have been written of his greatness intellectually; as many more could be filled with his kindnesses. Dwarfed, perhaps, in body, but with a heart as big as the universe and a soul as pure as a child's." Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York is quoted as saying, “He always wanted to help everybody.”

to all Astrological Interpretations by Michael D. Robbins
to other commentary and projects by Michael D. Robbins
to the University of the Seven Rays

to home