Week 36 Monday Motivation

Piute County School District,

We’ve reached the month of graduation. When a high school student tries to claim they don’t learn anything in school I enjoy asking where they learned to read and write if not in school. Through a series of other questions they usually have to reluctantly admit they have gained more knowledge than they thought. It can be difficult to make an inventory of what we have learned from a class or experience, but the knowledge is there. Sometimes our knowledge has to be tested or needed for us to recognize we have it. I recently came across this fun story about the value of knowledge.

In the early 20th century General Electric had a very bright electrical engineer named Charles Steinmetz. He was unique in many more ways than just his brilliant mind; he stood just four feet tall and frequently had a large cigar in his hand. He was a German immigrant that was nearly sent away from Ellis Island simply because he was considered a dwarf. Luckily he had friends in America that helped him convince government officials he would be a great asset to America.

He worked hard and made great breakthroughs in mathematics and the science of electricity. A few years after arriving in America he began working for General Electric. He was recruited by Thomas Edison and he helped lay the foundation of much of our electrical systems understanding today. He was called the “little giant” in the industry.

Knowing of his great knowledge, Ford Motor Company asked for his help with a giant electric generator used in the Dearborn, Michigan manufacturing plant. Upon arrival Steinmetz asked only for a notebook, pencil, and cot. He spent two days taking notes on the generator the Ford engineers had been unable to fix. At last he took a piece of chalk and climbed a ladder to make a mark on the side of the generator. He instructed Ford’s engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace 16 windings of the field coil. The Ford engineers followed his instructions and the generator was fixed.

Steinmetz billed Ford Motor Company $10,000 for his work. This was an extraordinary amount of money at the time. Henry Ford wondered what the engineer could have done to justify such a large bill when he only knew of the mark Steinmetz had made on the generator. He requested an itemized bill. Steinmetz responded with this itemized bill…

$1 - Making chalk mark on generator

$9,999 - Knowing where to make mark

Ford Motor Company paid the bill. Knowledge is power and in this case it was literal electrical power to a manufacturing plant. Don’t undervalue the knowledge you have gained or the knowledge you could gain. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the next generation of brilliant thinkers and creators. 

Have the best week 36,



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Piute County School District
500 North Main - P.O. Box 69
Junction, Utah 84740-0069
Phone: (435)-577-2912 - Fax: (435)-577-2561
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