Tesla Photo Anomaly

Bob Schumann <tesla-at-america-dot-com> wrote: 

> My friend stopped by a used book store and picked up a book 
> called 'Einstein - His Life and Times' by Phillp Frank; reprinted 
> in 1967. He showed me something fascinating with a photo I 
> want to share with the group. He found a picture in the book 
> of Albert Einstein and Charles Steinmetz which appears to be 
> identical to a picture in Margaret Cheney's book 'Tesla: Man 
> out of time'. BUT! the picture in Margaret's book seems to 
> have Tesla (and someone elso barely visible) put in somehow 
> maybe? I don't know but it is spooky. I am not real hip on 
> how to post images to the group so I scanned both pictures 
> and put them on my web page under 'Tesla Photo Anomaly'.               

The anomaly is straightforeward enough; actually, both photos have 
been "doctored" to some extent, although Cheney, to her credit, at 
least leaves in some evidence to suggest that this is so. I'm going  
a bit on memory here, so I may come back with some minor corrections,  
but the original photo is actually a rather large group picture. As 
with most group shots, it's likely that the crowd just filed in front  
of the camera, with no significance as to who was placed in relation  
to whom. Some consideration is given to the relative heights of the 
individuals, however. The short people go up front, and Steinmetz  
was in front, as he was a very very very tiny individual. 

In the photo Cheney used, Steinmetz' feet are not showing; he's probably  
standing on a box. (I have a reference to the complete photo somewhere;  
I'll see if the original shows what he's standing on, or wether it's  
cropped at the same level.) In the other photo, it's fairly obvious  
that Steinmetz' legs have been retouched into a length that's way out  
of proportion to the rest of his body. The reason is that the retouched 
photo was originally taken, I beleive, from a GE book on Steinmetz which  
seems to have gone a little over-the-line in making him look heroic,  
even to the point of painting out everyone from the picture but Steinmetz 
and Einstein. They thought a great deal of him and overdid it a bit (he 
was something of a folk hero when I began my engineering career there,  
<mumbledy-mumble> years ago.) Steinmetz' researches were fairly  
instrumental in giving Edison General Electric Company its initial  
engineering expertise in the then-new field of AC machines. His 
researches were also crucial in helping it recover from its disastrous 
losses in the AC vs DC debacle, after it was bought out by competitor 
Thompson-Houston, Edison was booted out of his own company, and his name  
sliced out from the company name. 

When I worked at GE, the name Steinmetz came up often in historical 
references, and their internal inventor's award even bears his name.  
(Edison really wasn't mentioned at all.) The book on Steinmetz  
apparently carried their enthusiasm for the guy a little bit beyond 
the bounds of reality. As such, the photo was retouched in a blatant 
editing of the historical record, and it was apparently copied in the 
book you've referenced.  

The heavily modified photo may attempt to produce a close association  
between Steinmetz and Einstein, which may have actually existed, for 
all I know, but which certainly wasn't shown in the real photographic  
record. In a way, Cheney did a similar thing to associate Tesla with 
Einstein and Steinmetz, by showing only a tiny portion of a large  
group and not pointing out that this was so. To be sure, the 
partially-airbrushed-away images of two others in the group as shown 
by Cheney will at least allow a discriminating and observent reader 
to suspect that this is a group photo, rather than a suggestion of 
close association between the individuals. But I'd bet that a great  
many readers would not have made this connection, if only because  
a number of Cheney's readers are people who view Tesla as something  
of a religious figure, and aren't out to downplay the significance of 
any Tesla-related information, even if it means greater accuracy. 
Other readers just don't have the time to study every little detail, 
and will simply overlook it. While I don't at all approve of the  
major retouching job, I personally don't like what was done with the 
other photo either.  

In any case, the photos aren't a mystery. If you look a bit into  
the inaccuracies that went into much of the news reporting of the day 
when the original photo was taken, 
(check a history book under "yellow journalism") you'll see that this 
kind of tactic was viewed then as Standard Operating Procedure, rather 
than out and out lying. The folks back then worked to some very  
different standards than we use today, and painting people out of a  
picture might have been viewed as just removing distracting clutter. 

But hey, if you look at our politicians at this time of the election 
year, you'll see that things haven't _really_ changed all that much! 

Wes B.