In 1889, he emigrated to the United States. Arriving with only money borrowed from his travelling companion and friend, Oscar Asmussen.
Initially Steinmetz was rejected for entry and placed in a pen for deportation. His twisted body and over-sized head were red flags that he was not fit to enter. In addition he had severely decayed teeth that had become infected on his trans-Atlantic voyage, and combined with a massive head cold; all lead to a monstrous appearance. In addition, he barely spoke any English. This entire amalgamation of disabilities, dysfunction and discomfort did not bode well for the four-foot mathematician.
The facts are unclear as to how his travel companion, Asmussen, was able to intervene. Whatever his methods, they worked. Steinmetz was allowed to enter the country and thus began another chapter in America’s rich tradition of accepting the ragged, the wretched, the poor.
Steinmetz hits the streets of NY looking for work. His “day planner” reveals he had two appointments. One with Edison Electric Works and one with Eickemeyer and Oosterheld.
He was rejected by Edison but was hired by Eickemeyer.