Charles Proteus SteinmetzCharles Proteus Steinmetz (1865-1923) was born in Breslau, Silesia, Germany. He developed theories for alternating current that made possible the expansion of the electric power industry in the United States. , 
Steinmetz studied electricity in Germany. He became a socialist but had to leave Germany when Bismarck began rounding up socialists. He immigrated to the United States where he eventually went to work for General Electric . His most influential work was to develop a theory of magnetic hysteresis. When Schenectady, where he was living, elected a socialist mayor, Steinmetz began serving in the city government. In his later years Steinmetz became interested in lightning.
Here's an interesting anecdote, as told by Charles M. Vest, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during commencement on June 4th, 1999. 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.
- 1. Marking chalk "X" on side of generator: $1.
- 2. Knowing where to mark chalk "X": $999.