Karl August Rudolph Steinmetz was born in Prussia, now a part of Poland. While working on his doctorate at the University of Breslau in the 1880s, he faced arrest for promoting socialism, resulting in his emigrating to the United States in 1889. He changed his name to Charles Proteus Steinmetz and began working for Rudolf Eickemeyer in Yonkers. A few years later Eickemeyer’s firm was bought by General Electric, and Steinmetz made a name for himself as an engineering wizard. His contributions to alternating current led to the growth of the electric power industry.