Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

All research or scholarship questions
duruobo
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Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby duruobo » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:07 am

Does anyone have references to books or newspaper articles or 'white papers' that mention the circumstances when Charles (Carl) Steinmetz and other world-famous scientists met and conversed The Master? What was 'Abdu'l-Baha's effect on (some of) them?


Thanks,
Du Ruobo
duruobo@gmail.com

brettz9
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby brettz9 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:11 pm

Hello Du,

I don't know about Charles (Carl) Steinmetz (though at this site, there is one poster who made such a statement at http://bahai-library.com/wwwboard/messages01/732.html ), but some famous persons are quoted at http://bahai-library.com/appreciations_bahai_faith and listed at http://bahai-library.com/shoghieffendi_ ... 44-1950#34

At one point I heard someone claim Nikola Tesla had met 'Abdu'l-Baha and attributed their conversation with his inspiration for the Tesla Coil, but I have not found anything to confirm that. I've also heard presentations about His meeting Thomas Edison, but I could not find authoritative confirmation.

Maybe the most significant meeting with Dr. August Forel, as it resulted in this important Tablet: http://www.bahai-library.com/writings/abdulbaha/taf/ . He also spoke at Stanford University during His travels in the West.

Best wishes,
Brett

duruobo
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby duruobo » Fri May 11, 2012 7:40 am

Hello Brettz9,
Thank you for the above Reply with 'links'!

Du Ruobo

pilgrimbrent
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby pilgrimbrent » Thu May 31, 2012 9:31 pm

Robert Stockman says that Abdu'l-Baha's train route did not go through Schnectady nor was there time for Him to travel there. The only reference to this subject I know of is in one of Stanwood Cobb's books in which he quotes a Unitarian minister as the source of the story that Abdu'l-Baha toured Steinmetz' facility in Schnectady. There is historical evidence that this man was in fact a Unitarian minister; but no confirmation from any other source of Abdu'l-Baha's visit to that city or to the scientist. For example, no reference in Mahmud's Diary, none known in Sohrab's notes, and there is another diary kept by one of Abdu'l-Baha's traveling companions, and there is no reference in it either. I doubt that it happened. Brent Poirier brent at cybermesa dot com

njoy
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby njoy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:59 am

This is an interesting question to me because my husband's grandfather was a close friend of Steinmetz and also worked at the General Electric plant in Schenectady in 1912. In the early 1990s, I read (in a Baha'i book about 'Abdu'l-Baha's travels in North America; sorry, but I don't recall the title or author) that the Master was invited by Steinmetz and did spend a day in at the GE plant. We immediately telephoned my husband's father who would have been one year old in 1912 and always had new and interesting Steinmetz stories to tell from his childhood. We asked him if his grandfather and Steinmetz had ever spoken about "a man from Persia" who visited. Strangely, my husband's father instantly changed the subject and began talking about the weather as if he had not heard the question (which he most certainly had).

I've often wondered if the book might have been 239 Days: 'Abd'ul-Baha's Journey in America by Allan L. Ward but have had no luck finding the passage.

BruceDLimber
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby BruceDLimber » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:08 am

njoy wrote:We asked him if his grandfather and Steinmetz had ever spoken about "a man from Persia" who visited. Strangely, my husband's father instantly changed the subject and began talking about the weather as if he had not heard the question (which he most certainly had.


I hope that under the circumstances, you immediately changed the subject back to the question at hand and asked for a reply.

Peace, :-)

Bruce

njoy
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby njoy » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:09 am

You'd think, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, it was my husband on the phone and they simply don't do that in his family. Very polite people. I've often admired that and at least as often have not. The very strongest statement allowed is a soft-spoken "Well" with very little emphasis and absolutely no arching of eyebrow. Drives me nuts but nothing to be done. That generation is almost all gone, anyway.

My husband's dad has now passed on so we will never know more from him. at least in the here and now. I'm not trying to prove anything, btw, since I know what I know. There is more to the story but it gets a bit non-physical and won't do as conversation.

Pace9
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby Pace9 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:58 pm

Hi Du Ruobo,

I'm just reading the book "Abdu'l-Baha in Their Midst" by Earl Redman which is about Abdu'l-Baha's journeys to the West, and in response to your question there is a passage about Charles Steinmetz on pages 149-150:

"Abdu'l-Baha one day went to Schenectady, New York where He visited the General Electrics Works along with Stanwood Cobb and Rev. Moore. His guide was Charles Steinmetz, known as the 'wizard of electricity' because of his development of alternating current. Cobb noticed that the 'wizard of electricity' was 'eagerly absorbing Abdu'l-Baha's elucidation of electricity'. Rev. Moore said that 'Steinmetz's jaw seemed to drop open as he drank in Abdu'l-Baha's talk.'"

The above passage is footnoted as being from: Cobb, Memories of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 20

Pace9
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby Pace9 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 4:12 pm

Also, from that same book, pages 101-102, there is a reference to Abdu'l-Baha's meeting at the home of Alexander Graham Bell , who was the president of a scientific society, which he had invited the Master to address. One of the passages, which describes the affect of Abdu'l-Baha's address on those present at this meeting, is footnoted as being from: Zarqani, Mahmud's Diary, p.58.

njoy
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby njoy » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:46 pm

Wow, and there's a Kindle edition, too. The Amazon blurb says, "Rather than focusing on the public talks he gave, inspiring though these were, it narrates how 'Abdu’l-Baha affected and transformed the lives of those he met, described in their own words." I wonder how Redman knows that Stanwood Cobb was present.

I guess I'll have to write to GR and ask.

njoy
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby njoy » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:20 am

Which I did and my email has been forwarded for his comment.

njoy
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby njoy » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:27 pm

Here is the email response I got from Earl Redman:

I'm afraid I can't advance the discussion. In rereading Cobb's note in Memories, it is obvious that the story came from Rev Moore and was not witnessed by Cobb. I did read a blog by someone who met Cobb in which he indicated that Cobb had been there with Steinmetz, but I discarded it as inaccurate in many ways. And now that I want to find it again, I can't. 

There are so many errors in published and unpublished materials about time and place. Cobb's story appears detailed enough to be true, but there could easily be an error of place. Steinmetz may have been based in Schenectady, but Moore met him at a New York or some other facility. Or Cobb may have misinterpreted the location. Interestingly, Sarah Farmer at Greenacre knew Steinmetz (http://centenary.bahai.us/photo/sarah-j ... hai-school) so they could possibly have met through her efforts.

Errors of time and place are so common that putting together Bahá'í history is quite difficult. George Ronald said that when they edited Mahmúd's Diary, by far the most difficult part was trying to figure out where the Master was on a given date. Even though Mahmúd was there, he either didn't date everything or sometimes put on the wrong dates. And it apparently wasn't a diary in the sense of a book written chronologically. Stockman has caught a few apparent discrepancies in the published Diary. I have found people who were on the same pilgrimage who wrote that they went in different years. Even God Passes By is not immune. The events Shoghi Effendi describes are accurate but in at least one case, the time is not right (the Guardian has the Second Commission occurring during the winter of late 1907, but official British communications and the assassination attempt on the Sultán, put the Commission in the summer of 1905).

It is too bad your grandfather wasn't more forthcoming! That may have solved the question. To answer your two questions. For the first, I must apologize and admit that I was wrong about Cobb being at the meeting with Steinmetz. I obviously misread, but was probably influenced by the blog I read (and discarded as inaccurate). As for your second question, I have no idea.

Sorry I could have been of more help.

Earl

Then I emailed asking Mr. Redman if I could post his response on this forum and he replied:

No problem, use as you wish. The problems with historical accuracy bothered me when I first started writing my books. But I soon realised that sometimes you just have to do the best you can with the information you have. As people dig out more and more material from boxes on grandma's attic, the historical record will improve. 

Having books on 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the Ten Year Crusade I the pipeline, I've had to deal with a lot of historical problems and contradictions. I've realised that sometimes you just have to write the best you can then let future writers correct the uncertainties.

Earl

njoy
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby njoy » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:37 pm

So there it is. Not much else to be said regarding my theory at least for now. Meanwhile, it's cheery to note that the records kept in heaven are undoubtedly much more accurate than our poor efforts here on earth.

Btw, my second question to Mr. Redman was regarding the identity of the book I originally read. It said that 'Abdu'l-Baha went to Schenectady at the invitation of Charles Steinmetz and spent the day at the General Electric plant. At least that's my best recollection.

brettz9
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby brettz9 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:31 pm

As far as historical accuracy of works like God Passes By, see http://bahai-library.com/uhj_self-defen ... ibility#s4

Pace9
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Re: Did Charles (Carl) Steinmetz meet 'Abdu'l-Baha?

Postby Pace9 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:19 pm

Dear brettz9,

Thank you so much for the link on historical accuracy!!!


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