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 Charles Steinmetz

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Charles Steinmetz

  • Birth 9 Apr 1865 Wrocław, Dolnośląskie, Poland
  • Death 26 Oct 1923 Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York, USA
  • Burial Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York, USA
  • Plot Sect M3 lot 45
  • GPS
  • Memorial ID 2766

German-American electrical engineer and inventor, best known for his research in alternating current. He was born Karl August Rudolf Steinmetz in Breslau, Silesia, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), the son of a crippled lithographer. He was afflicted with the same hunchback deformity as his father, and reached a stature of only 4 feet as an adult. He studied in Breslau, Zurich and Berlin. Shortly after he received his Ph.D. in 1888, he had to flee Germany because of an article he wrote criticizing the government. He immigrated to New York City on July 1, 1889. He was initially hired by fellow German immigrant Rudolph Eickemeyer in Yonkers, New York to design electric motors and generators. Within 3 years, Steinmetz had published papers and given lectures that made him famous in engineering circles at age 27. 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 refers to the Greek god who could take on any shape or size. In 1893 the newly formed General Electric Company purchased Eickemeyer's company, primarily for his patents, but Steinmetz was considered one of its major assets. In 1894 Steinmetz was transferred to the main General Electric plant at Schenectady, New York, where he was made head of the calculating department. In 1895, he was granted a patent for a system of high-voltage three-phase alternating current power transmission that is still the basis of all long-distance power transmission to this day. In 1902 he retired from G.E. to teach electrical engineering at Union College, also in Schenectady. However, G.E. later set up a consulting engineering arrangement with Steinmetz that remained in effect for the rest of his life. At the time of his death, Steinmetz held over 200 U.S. patents.

Bio by: Edward Parsons





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2766
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Steinmetz (9 Apr 1865–26 Oct 1923), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2766, citing Vale Cemetery, Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .