Thursday, April 12, 2018

Some more great replies, responses and retorts

Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865 – 1923) was a German-born American mathematician and electrical engineer who fostered the development of alternating current that made possible the expansion of the electric power industry in the United States. He also formulated mathematical theories for engineers and made ground-breaking discoveries that enabled engineers to design better electromagnetic apparatus equipment including especially electric motors for use in industry. As was the case with Stephen Hawking, a brilliant mind was housed within a disabled body. 

Charles Steinmetz with Albert Einstein 

According to an article on Steinmetz in the Smithsonian magazine, an item appeared on the letters page of Life magazine in 1965, after the magazine had printed a story on Steinmetz. Jack B. Scott wrote in to tell of his father’s encounter with Steinmetz at Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan:
Ford, whose electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator, called Steinmetz in to the plant. Upon arriving, Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot. According to Scott, Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.

Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.

Steinmetz, Scott wrote, responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:

    Making chalk mark on generator $1.  
    Knowing where to make mark $9,999.

Ford paid the bill. 

Sir Thomas Beecham (1879 – 1961) was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and HallĂ© orchestras. From the early 20th century until his death, Beecham was a major influence on the musical life of Britain and, according to the BBC, was Britain's first international conductor. 

During a rehearsal, Beecham thought that his female soloist was playing less than adequately on her fine Italian cello.

He stopped the orchestra and declared: "Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands, and all you can do is scratch it!" 

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Some bonus Beechamisms . . . 

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Once he described the sound of the harpsichord as "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof". 

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“The British may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes". 

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"There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between." 

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Beecham once met a lady he knew, but could not remember who she was. He asked her whether she was well. 

“Oh, very well, but my brother has been rather ill lately”, she said. 

“Ah, yes, your brother. I’m sorry to hear that. And, er, what is your brother doing at the moment?” 

“Well… he’s still King”, replied Princess Mary. 

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