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Politics. Steinmetz was an enthusiastic Socialist from his student days in Breslau. The Government considered him dangerous, and was about to prosecute him when he escaped to Switzerland. He never lost his interest in Socialism, though his views became more moderate in later years. Great corporations were willing enough to buy his genius despite his economic opinions. In 1922 Steinmetz offered his technical services to Soviet Russia, but they were declined. He was a naturalized citizen and was always active in politics and community life. Last year he ran for State Engineer on the Socialist and Farmer-Labor tickets. Though defeated he received over 200,000 votes, the most ever cast for a Socialist in New York State. He was a source of great pride to American Socialists. The New York Leader (formerly the Socialist Call) ran a seven-column streamer on the day of his death. He was widely known also for his liberal religious views, his interest in philosophy and other fields transcending the technical. In sum, his mind was one of vast range and breadth as well as keen analytic powers.
Eccentricities. He never received a salary from the Company, but received at his own request irregular amounts when he needed them. But his income was large. He carried no life insurance except a $1,500 employee policy, and his estate will be less than $10,000. The Company built him a house and paid all his expenses.
He rarely used an automobile. He either walked or rode on a trolley next to the motorman.
He never wore an overcoat or a hat, except a coonskin cap in Winter.
He smoked incessantly specially made cigars, which produced a maximum of smoke and a minimum of nicotine. He was the only person allowed to smoke in the plant, and refused to work there unless he were permitted.
He had a gila monster for a favorite pet and a cactus in his garden.