Carlson, Chester – They remarked that Carlson's modesty was even more impressive than his invention
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
David Owen - Copies in Seconds: How a lone inventor and an unknown company created the biggest communication breakthrough since Gutenberg—Chester Carlson and the birth of the Xerox Machine
People who knew him only from the office or from private encounters were often surprised to discover, when they heard him lecture, that he was a funny, natural, and effective public speaker. (In a talk to the Society of Professional Scientists and Engineers in 1964, he said,
"Right now I feel something like the English peer who dreamed that he was addressing the House of Lords and woke up and found that he was, I can hardly wait to hear what I will have to say."
In 1958, his cousin Roy accompanied him on a Xerox-sponsored European trip, which included a stop at the World's Fair in Brussels. Rank Xerox had a booth at the fair, and when the women stopped to see it a young salesman was describing the history of xerography and the unusual life of its inventor. Dorris, recounting what Roy told her later, said,
"In Chet's usual manner he stood listening carefully, and he would nod his head every now and then in appreciation, as though he were hearing it for the first time. When the man had finished his story Chet said thank you and they walked away."
Roy later told his cousin that in similar circumstances he would have spoken up and identified himself as the inventor, and that doing so would have pleased the salesman, who presumably would have been happy to meet the great man whose life story he had just recounted. Carlson replied,
"He might have been happy for a little while, but it was his story and his show, and I would have been taking the light away from him and putting it on myself."
When Roy repeated this story later in Madrid, to some representatives of another European office equipment company, they remarked that Carlson's modesty was even more impressive than his invention.