Your Listening to the Dave Quahogowitz show on AM 820 and 93.9 WNYC.
Did you ever wonder how different your life would be if you just did that one thing other than the one thing, you’re doing now? Today we’ll be examining one of those relative moments in time as we discuss Albert Einstein’s sadly left behind latent passion, Kitchen Appliances and the history that could have been.
My guest is Isaac Walterson. He currently heads the Appalachian Institute, a think tank dedicated to the Art of Apperception, where new experiences are perceived in relation to past experiences. He was managing editor of emiT magazine and author of the best-selling biographies of Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison, Lord Buckley*, and Albert Einstein.
Isaac, you don’t even have to knock. Whatever or whenever you publish, I’ll interview you. So please don’t take this the wrong way, but, didn’t we already do this interview last year when you released your humongous biography on Einstein?
Dave, thanks for having me on and double thanks for such a terrific lead-in question. Here’s the thing, before I started my Einstein biography, the world was not looking for another Einstein bio, but when Princeton University called me after opening its vault of previously sequestered Einstein papers, well, Leonard it was a biographer’s dream come true. In essence, David, I was being asked to do the consummate, definitive tome on this giant’s life. Imagine Walterson & Einstein being seen forever in the same spotlight. My God. That is, of course, until Jerusalem University came up with the unexpected.
Isaac, keep talking, this is getting good.
In 1952 Einstein turned down Prime Minister Ben Gurion’s and the Knesset’s offer to be president of Israel. Although he felt his strongest human bond was his relationship with the Jewish people, all his life he dealt with objective matters and was apperceptive enough to realize, he lacked both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions.
Christ, Dave, at 73 he was smart enough about time to realize time was making increasing inroads on his strength. He was so moved at being asked, as a concession, Einstein entrusted Jerusalem University with yet another vault full of papers. His gift came with the stipulation that the documents would only be released to the public if and when presented with some unforeseen imperative. Well, David, it appears that after the release of my Einstein bio, somebody at Jerusalem University had a belated fit of conscience.
“Imperative,” Isaac, “imperative” sounds rather serious.
Dave, my cousin Bernie, a member of the Israeli Knesset, wouldn’t put up with me becoming the brunt of second-rate jokes turning me into a runt-of-the-litter biographer. Because of the secret nature of the papers, it came to a closed door vote in the Knesset labeled: “Walterson v. Hitler.”
Excuse me, Isaac, what the hell are you talking about?
Before we get too deep into the weeds, just for the record the issues full title was “Walterson v. Hitler and the Perpetual Motion Refrigerator.”
The weeds, Isaac. Isaac, the weeds.
Well, David, it started in Germany in the late 1920s, when sadly a Berlin family was asphyxiated in their sleep. Their refrigerator had an o-ring seal fail on a pressurized gas container of ammoniated-ether, leaking the deadly toxin into their home and killing them in their sleep. After hearing this news, Einstein and his former student Leo Szilard collaborated in creating a device that did not have any pressurized toxic components.
Einstein & Szilard worked together to combine Einstein’s theories of electromagnetic and gravitational fields to create a device they called the Daedal Doodle. The seemingly static machine generated enough molecular motion to produce the necessary heat needed to create basic refrigeration cycles. Ostensibly, Einstein and Szilard created the world’s first and only perpetual motion machine. The device’s only drawback is that every twenty years you need to add one gallon of water.
Whoa, that’s just too unbelievable to believe. So, all things considered, they created perpetual motion?
Well, Dave, the main component of this thing looks like some crazy artist’s doodle but in actuality, it's a series of magnetically sensitive filaments running alongside each other. The Daedal Doodle's two main filaments harness the opposing friction created by lunar gravitational acceleration and the magnetic fields of the Van Allen Belts. To date, nobody's figured out how a sealed unit loses the gallon of water. When the evaporation problem gets beat, it'll truly be able to be labeled "Perpetual Motion".
Einstein used the experience he gained during his years at the Swiss Patent Office to apply for airtight patents for their inventions. The two of them were so loyal to the fatherland, the patents were designed to be valid only if the manufacturing stayed in Germany. In no time, the two chalked up enough patents for three different appliances, giving birth to a firm known as Einstein Design. Their hope was to turn the Weimar Republic economy around by making Germany the number one exporter of refrigerators, stoves, and the world’s first microwave dishwasher. Then history happened.
So, if Einstein Design got there earlier, Hitler would have just been Schicklgruber* the house painter screaming at deaf drunks in beer halls, he wouldn't even have made it to the level of a footnote.
Issac, you’ve got to be making this stuff up?
Dave, I’m not. Everything I say is true. After all, we are talking about Einstein.
OK. OK, so then what happens?
In 1933 Einstein and Szilard came to the United States to be the keynote speakers at a thermodynamics conference at Princeton. Hitler came to power and the two never returned to Germany. In Hitler’s Germany, nobody wants to be the one to note they’re sitting on a gold mine of Kitchen Appliances designed by Jewish Geniuses. The Einstein Design-Daedal Doodle Patents were thought to be either lost to a book burning or placed somewhere in a box in that warehouse in Arlington, Virginia- you know the one referenced at the end of The Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Isaac, so ah, let me get this straight. Israel holds on to these patents, for more than half a century and then lets them out because your cousin Knesset Bernie doesn’t want you embarrassed?
Well, Dave, that, and that they didn’t want to wind up in International Patent Court with Germany, so they waited until the patents were doubly expired and then claimed clean title to all patents.
I hate to say it, but once again we are subject to the tyranny of the clock. Isaac put a ribbon and bow on this baby and take it home.
Einstein got sick of having his life bifurcated by appliances and physics and frankly didn't want to duke it out with GE and Westinghouse. Szilard never looked back and went on to create the patent for the nuclear reactor, ipso facto jump-starting the Atomic Age. Einstein’s ability to see into the future informed him of the never-ending friction between Israel and the Palestinian State. In agreement with Einstein’s wishes, Israel will also be using the Kitchen Appliance patents-accrued gelt*, to bring stability to the Middle East and once and for all turn it into the Land of Milk and Honey, as promised in the Bible. Proudly, Dave, the last word on Einstein's story, is now available with all its stunning science, historic turns and run on sentences in my new book E=MC3.
I've yet to mention, that the vault of papers Einstein endowed to Israel were delivered in the only known Einstein Design refrigerator. The uncanny part of that piece of history is that there's no mention of him lugging around such a formidable appliance. Taped to the inside of the fridge door was a post-it like note with E=MC3 written on it. Was it even serious? Was it written before the world's most famous equation? Did he write it postscript to remind himself to expand on the original theory? Was this his Rosebud moment? So far, no one can say. You know, just when you think you’re beginning to understand E=MC2, Einstein throws a refrigerator-size Perpetual Motion Machine at you with E=MC3 scribbled on it. 'I just thought as far as clever titles go, E=MC3 a gift to biographers and a possible door opener for an addendum edition titled E=MC4.
Wow again, will ya get a load of that! You know Issac, I used to think it was Sinatra's world, and we just lived in it. Just being reminded of Einstein makes it clear that Einstein truly was and still is the chairperson of the board. He trumps them all. All this brilliant stuff, I guess that’s why they say Einstein’s intellectual achievements and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with “genius.”
You bet, Dave.
Isaac, this was a delight!
Dave, you’re the best!
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