Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

Entry from April 26, 2015
“The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be” (joke)

A popular engineering joke is:

The optimist sees a glass that’s half full.
The pessimist sees a glass that’s half empty.
An engineer sees a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be!

The joke has been cited in print since at least 1990, when it was posted online in rec.humor under the heading “Old engineering joke.”

Wikipedia: Is the glass half empty or half full?
Is the glass half empty or half full? is a common expression, generally used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for optimism (half full) or pessimism (half empty), or as a general litmus test to simply determine an individual’s worldview. The purpose of the question is to demonstrate that the situation may be seen in different ways depending on one’s point of view and that there may be opportunity in the situation as well as trouble.

Old engineering joke
Will Crowder
9/27/90
This is an old one, but I haven’t seen it here yet....
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the lines about the optimist, the pressimist and the half-filled glass:

The optimist sees a glass that’s half full.
The pessimist sees a glass that’s half empty.

An engineer sees a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be!

Dangerous Romances
Michael D Kretzer
4/28/91
In article <15...@gargoyle.uchicago.edu> (William Vajk ) writes:
>Rather depends on whether your glass is half empty or half full.
>Bill.etc
|
|Optimist: The glass is half full
|Pessimist: The glass is half empty
|Realist: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be
|Cynic: Drinks the water then asks what the question was.

Wayne McPherson
6/16/94
(...)

An optimist sees the glass as half full
A pessimist sees the glass as half empty
An engineer sees the glass as twice as large as it has to be

Truth and Trust:
The First Two Victims of Downsizing

By Frank J. Navran
Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University Press
1995
Pg. 58:
They are the consultants who prompted one manager to post this message to his office wall: “The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The optimist says the glass is half full. The consultant says the glass is twice as big as we need.”

A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor
Third Annual Joke Show
April 18, 1998
(...)
The optimist sees a glass that’s half full.
The pessimist sees a glass that’s half empty.
An engineer sees a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.

Digital Signal Processing Applications

By John F. Ehlers
New York, NY: Wiley
2001
Pg. 215:
That famous half-glass of water — optimists see it as half-full and pessimists see it as half-empty. An engineer sees the glass as having been designed with too much capacity.

Science Notes
Engineer Jokes
This entry was posted in Physics and tagged engineering, fun, humor, jokes on April 9, 2015 by Todd Helmenstine.
(...)
The optimist sees the glass as half full. The pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

The New Yorker
Dept. of Transportation MAY 4, 2015 ISSUE
The Engineer’s Lament
Two ways of thinking about automotive safety.