History Independent Study

Prof. Warren Gates


Patricia McCommon

January 21, 1973

The growth of the crystal industry in Cumberland County spans more than 40 years and has involved many of the local residents in its development. Today it is one of the biggest employers in this area, having approximately 2000 employees.(1)  Its products are vital to the nation's elec­tronic industry for such things as aircraft radios, color television sets, missiles, satellites and so forth.

Despite its importance, controversy and uncertainty surround the origins and early development of the industry. Who made the first crystal in this area? Who deserves the credit for the introduction of the business and for the various developments in the industry? These questions are dif­ficult to answer, because so much time has elapsed and memories of people have faded. Few or no written records exist, and even among the persons involved there is not always agreement on what occurred.

In September as an independent study in history at Dickinson Col­lege, I began an oral history project to investigate the history and develop­ment of the crystal industry. The project resulted in ten interviews of people who either are or were involved in the crystal business. The transcripts and the tapes of these interviews which form the major source for my his­tory will be located in the Cumberland County Historical Society in Carlisle.

In conclusion, I would particularly like to acknowledge my debt to Dr. George Shuman, the Vice President of Dickinson College, for the con­ception of the project and for the contacts with major persons involved in the crystal industry. In addition, I would like to express my appreciation for the aid of Mr. Luther McCoy, President of McCoy Electronics Company, in supplying the materials that were needed for the interviewing.

Dickinson College and the Origins of the Crystal Industry

The origins of the crystal industry are closely related to Dickinson College. Credit belongs to three students of Dickinson, Edward Minnich '31, Howard Bair '31, and Charles Fagan '32, and their physics professor, Dr. W. A. Parlin, for introducing quartz crystal and the knowledge about its properties and use to the pioneers of the crystal industry in this vicinity.

At the beginning of 1930 Dr. W. A. Parlin came to Dickinson College from Johns Hopkins University to replace the late Dr. J. F. Mohler as head of the physics department. Shortly after his arrival he encouraged Minnich, Bair and Fagan in their amateur radio interests and made it possible for them to set up W3YC, the original radio station at Dickinson College.(2)  After setting their code station up, the students headed by Charles Fagan contacted other ham radio stations at other colleges and in other countries. In their communications, especially with Penn State, they learned about the quartz crystal and its function as a stabilizer of radio frequencies.(3) Naturally the students wanted to acquire a crystal of their own, but they had very limited funds. Nevertheless, with the help of Edward Minnich's father, C. O. Minnich, they were able to purchase their first quartz crystal. (4)

After reading articles concerning quartz crystals, the students decided to attempt cutting and fabricating their own crystals. As amateurs the students had enjoyed making their own equipment and materials as much as possible, and fabrication of the crystals would be cheaper than ready­made ones.(5) Again Dr. Perlin was of great assistance. He helped the students by teaching them how to orient a piece of quartz so that wafers cut from it would be at the correct angle and by helping them setup and use a muck saw.(6) The venture was successful and each student made (7) at least one crystal in 1931 or 1932. These crystals were the first ones cut in Carlisle.

While the students were busy setting up their radio station and cutting crystals, Grover Hunt was also busy working on his hobby, cutting petrified wood. Grover Hunt was employed by Dickinson College in a custodial or engineering capacity. His wife, Mabel, was the school nurse, and the family lived in Conway Hall where the infirmary was located. Very early in the 1930's Grover and his wife, plus his parents-­in-­law, Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Hoffman, had gone to California to visit his sister and parents. On the way back from California, they stopped at the Petrified Forest and Grover brought back some petrified wood.(8) Because of his interest in chess, Grover Hunt planned to carve an elegant chess set from the agate (petrified wood) . To accomplish this task it was necessary to construct machinery to saw and grind a hard substance such as agate. In the construction he had help from his brother­-in-­law, P. Reynold Hoffman, a machinist. In 1932 P. R. Hoffman graduated as a toolmaker from General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York.(9) Hunt and Hoffman set up a muck saw (band saw with a smooth brass blade fed with grit suspended in water) in the basement of Conway Hall, and began trying to cut out chess figures. Before long, however, this effort became much more complicated than had been foreseen.(10) Fortunately something else came along that interested Grover Hunt and took the place of the petrified wood project.

In the evenings Grover Hunt had often observed the three students cutting and roughly finishing their crystals in the basement of the phy­sics building.(11) His interest was aroused and he decided to try cutting quartz. How Grover Hunt got his first piece is uncertain. It seems most likely that Dr. Perlin or one of the students gave Hunt his first quartz in 1933 or 1934. Furthermore, both Dr. Parlin and the students helped Hunt by teaching him the crystal structure and the correct process of cutting quartz wafers.(12)  Soon Grover Hunt by his own studying surpassed them in knowledge. In particular, an article in the July 1934 Bell Lab journal was extremely important since it furnished Hunt with information on the AT cut crystal.(13)  However, the BT was the big demand until about 1940. Gradually Hunt was cutting entirely rough crystal blanks. His first sales were made when Charles Fagan advertised for him in EST, an amateur radio magazine.(14)  For only a brief time, Hunt cut crystal blanks for sale in the basement of Conway Hall. To him belongs the credit for cutting and fabricating the first commercial crystal in this area.(15) 

During this time, several local radio operators, Hoke Franciscus, Kenneth Hankins, and Hermann Shall, sought Hunt's advice about cutting crystal blanks. In particular, Charles Fagan and Hoke Franciscus worked for Hunt, serving as technical consultants and part­ time salesmen. Charles Fagan made some early electronic test equipment for Hunt, and Hoke Franciscus worked with him in making crystals for radios to place around the necks of animals for the Craigheads.(16)

Charles Fagan did not remain long in the crystal business. At the time he did not see much future in the business, and in 1934 he got a job at C. H. Masland and Sons to which he devoted most of his time. He is still at Masland's. Of the three students only one, Edward Minnich, remained in the business. He was employed by Western Electric Company in Massachusetts until recently when he retired. Howard Bair lives in Camp Hill and operates a radio-­television station in Lemoyne.(17)

Thus, Dickinson College and the crystal industry are definitely intertwined. Grover Hunt was a member of the maintenance staff, his wife, the nurse, and his father-­in-­law, a night watchman at Dickinson College. The three students, Edward Minnich, Charles Fagan and Howard Bair, and their physics professor, Dr. W. A. Parlin, all contributed to the beginnings of the crystal industry. Hoyt Brubaker, who later was employed by Grover Hunt, was a stationary boiler foreman in the wintertime and a tree surgeon in the summertime at Dickinson. Both Ed and Warren Hunt, sons of Grover Hunt, went to Dickinson College. Bertha Hoffman, the sister of P.R. Hoffman, and later the administrative and business head of his company, was for twelve years an assistant treasurer at Dickinson. And there were other Dickinsonians who worked in the crystal industry in the summertime or joined it after graduating.(18)

Perhaps more than anyone else, credit belongs to Dr. W. A. Parlin for the beginning of the crystal industry in Carlisle. Without his encouragement and attempt to develop an interest beyond just bare physics in his students, there probably would never have been a radio station on the campus. Consequently, there may never have been a crystal industry in Carlisle.

For this reason, Dr. W. A. Perlin deserves a lot of credit and recognition for his influence on the crystal industry in this area.(19)

The Early Companies

Grover Hunt did not remain at Dickinson College cutting rough crystal blanks for any length of time. One of his largest customers for blanks was Linwood Gagne, who was the chief radio engineer for Goodyear Blimp Company in Akron, Ohio.(20) Late An 1934 or early in 1935, Gagne was having trouble with one of his crystal suppliers in Tyrone, Penna. Upon arriving in Tyrone, Gagne learned that his supplier had gone on a "binge" and that the local bank had foreclosed on his equipment and supplies. The bank, anxious to fulfill the government orders which had penalties attached to them, offered Gagne the equipment if he could finish the orders. The next day Gagne arrived in Carlisle and discussed the offer with Hunt. The outcome of his visit was Gagne's resignation from Goodyear Blimp Company and the formation of a partnership between him and Hunt that resulted in the establishment of Standard Piezo in the middle of 1935, This Tyrone business furnished Standard Piezo with one of its first major orders.(21)  According to the sales books, another one of its first customers was Merrill Eidson of Temple, Texas.(22)

Linwood Gagne and Grover Hunt seemed to be an ideal partnership. Gagne had been a radio operator in the merchant Marines and was able to supply Hunt with a background in radio and electronics information, introducing him to the crystal unit. In return Hunt furnished the partnership with the knowledge of crystal structure and the proper process of cutting crystals.(23)  In 1936 the two partners purchased a bungalow with a shed ­like attachment on Cedar Street for the location of their company.(24)  As the business increased additional personnel became involved. In particular, the two partners asked P. R. Hoffman to set up a machine shop facility for the company, and Hoffman became a partner of Standard Piezo.(25)

Unfortunately, the two original partners rubbed each other the wrong way. They both had strong and rather eccentric personalities, and they both were very independent. Consequently, within a year or so from the formation of the company, Grover Hunt withdrew and formed his own company, G. C. Hunt and Sons, which was located in a garage in the back of his father-­in-law's house on N. Hanover Street, while Linwood Gagne maintained Standard Piezo Company.(26)  After the break­up, P. R. Hoffman's machine shop did work and made machinery for both Standard Piezo and G. C. Hunt's company.(27)

During the time that Grover Hunt and Linwood Gagne were partners in Standard Piezo, the planetary lap machine was developed. This development of the planetary lap machine is one of the greatest contributions that the Carlisle area made to the crystal industry. More than any other invention this machine was responsible for converting the industry to mass production. Instead of the necessity of grinding each crystal by hand to the proper thickness, the first lap machine could grind more than one crystal down to a thickness of about .012 inch.(28)  Depending upon the source of information, the lap machine can be credited to either P. R. Hoffman or Grover Hunt or both of them. It seems most likely that credit should be given to both Grover Hunt and P. R. Hoffman.(29) (30)

In addition to Hunt and Hoffman, at least one other person, Dave Beam, claims to have aided them in the machine work on the lap in 1939. In all probability, however, since this was in 1939, Beam worked on a later model of the lap.(31) P. R. Hoffman especially  developed many more versions of the lap in his machine shop. A patent for the lap machine was eventually obtained which called it the Hunt-­Hoffman lap.

Later. P. R. Hoffman changed the lap enough to patent it the P. R. Hoffman lap.(32)

During the years before World War II, Grover Hunt developed his company. Working under Hunt's supervision were Hoyt Brubaker, a former Dick­inson employee, Edward Hoffman, Hunt's father­-in-­law, Hoyt Blocker, and Hunt's children, Harriet, Ed, and Warren. They worked 12 hours a day and by Pearl Harbor were going strong.(33)  Many of the early crystals made were bought by the U. S. Coast Guard which was the first government agency to give a contract to Hunt's company.(34)

At the same time, P. R. Hoffman's machine shop was growing. P. R. Hoffman gives 1938 as the date of inception of his company, although he had a machine shop before that date.(35) In his company, not only did Hoffman develop the lap machine further and provide processing equipment for the crystal industry, but he also manufactured semi-­finished quartz crystals up to the stage when they are mounted in a holder.(36)

During these early years, the crystal industry was a very small business. The three companies sold crystals mainly to ham radio opera­tors and to a few airline and marine communication's equipment manufac­turers. The government did furnish a little business in the development field. With the approach of World War II, the size of the industry was changed tremendously.


World War II

World War II provided the demand for their product that the crystal industries needed. In fact, quartz was the only natural resource in World War II that was not used in World War I, except atomic energy. All over the country small crystal businesses developed to supply the demand of the military forces. For the first time the public was introduced to the  valuable asset that a quartz crystal could be to communications.(37)

World War II had a tremendous effect on the crystal industry and it was not only in the increase of production and profits. During the war new applications for crystals were discovered and new techniques in processing were developed. For example, throughout the war a crystal company had to handle orders for millions of crystals. Consequently, it had to plan where to get the equipment, the people, and the material that was needed to fulfill these orders. The crystal industry was forced to constantly be finding a better way to accomplish its purpose.(38) The seemingly impossible was asked in both quality and quantity and many times was achieved. In particular, there was always a constant push for more quantity and the technology to accomplish it. Even with the tremendous effort of the crystal industry, the Sherman tank had to settle for 4 crystals instead of the desired 34, and the B­29 bomber for 32 instead of the desired 432.(39)

One of the most important advances of the war was the development of techniques that reduced the size of a quartz crystal. This made it possible to stack many crystals into a radio set for different channels, and cut down the size and amount of natural quartz needed.(40)  Other advancements were the discovery that a crystal would oscillate under pressure between metal electrodes, improvements in the drill press lap, the discovery that a radio receiver would measure the frequency of a crystal with­out having to place it into an oscillator and testing it, the introduction of x-­ray equipment which made it much easier to measure the proper angle at which to cut a quartz wafer, and in the latter part of the war the be­ginning of metal deposition around the quartz blank.(41)

It was not all just improvements and advancements during the war; there were plenty of problems. All types of controls and wage laws were constantly being imposed on industries. Standard Piezo, for example, hired an attorney, Mr. Eugene Reader, to handle all these new controls.(42) Of all the controls, perhaps the most troublesome were the ones dealing with priorities. The crystal industry had a number 2 priority. Only atomic energy had a higher priority.(43)   Nevertheless, even with a number 2 priority, it was necessary to figure out how much material was needed and what exactly could be bought with the priority. For example, Mr. Reader found it necessary to get into the operating end of the business to figure such things as how long a diamond saw would last and how many crystals it would cut.(44) There was also trouble buying Brazilian quartz during the war, and what was available was becoming smaller and smaller in size. In a sidewalk laid before the war, Linwood Gagne had put some scrap quartz. During the war, this scrap quartz had become a usable size and the side­ walk was torn up.(45)

Although many men were serving in the armed forces, there were ant many serious labor problems. Most of the workers were women and for the supervisors who were men the plants were able to obtain draft deferments. Besides housewives from the Carlisle area, the crystal industries also hired girlfriends and wives of the men who were training for two or three months at Dickinson College for the Navy.(46) Standard Piezo in its Scranton plant had 800 employees, and not over 10 of them were men. The Scranton workers, in particular, accomplished a great deal of work, because the workers had formed a union and the union stewards kept the employees working.(47)

The war caused the crystal companies to expand and grow. Grover Hunt built a new plant at the end of Lincoln Street in 1941, and in 1942 he found it necessary to acquire an extension of operations. The second floor above Hall's Furniture store on N. Hanover Street was leased and here the crystal blanks from the Lincoln Street plant were finished around the clock.(48)  P. R. Hoffman during the war expanded his business to include a finishing plant. It was run by Luther McCoy and was located above the Comerford Theater. The P.R. Hoffman Company received a Navy E for it.(49) Standard Piezo became the largest producer in the country. From 50 employees and a little plant on Louther Street it grew during the war to 1200 employees and two plants, one in Carlisle and one in Scranton(50)  Standard Piezo became the first plant in Carlisle to receive the Army/Navy E and upon renegotiation for profits and wages it was asked to become the model plant of the industry.(51)* Besides these three major crystal plants in Carlisle, a small wartime plant, Carlisle Crystal, a branch of Hunt's original works, was established by Col. Philip Mathews, a retired Signal Corps officer. It was located on N. Hanover Street behind Baughman's store in a Chevrolet garage. At the end of the war when business dropped sharply, Col. Mathews abolished his company.(52)

Carlisle Crystal was not the only company that had problems at the end of the war. After the war there were cancellations all over the country. During the war the area's plants had furnished a high percentage of the crystals in the war. Carlisle was the crystal capital of the country.(53)  Many of the smaller companies had to close up as Carlisle Crystal and the larger ones had to cut back to the bare skeleton. Standard Piezo closed its plant in Scranton. There were only ham operators and airline and marine equipment manufacturers for business and that was not enough for all the companies. The government did help subsidize a little by giving production engineering measurement contracts when they wanted a particular frequency range investigated and researched.(54)  After the war both Grover Hunt and Linwood Gagne left the business. Linwood Gagne sold Standard Piezo to John Fowler and a few other local men. The company was incorporated and Gagne took some preferred stock.(55)  In 1944 Hunt had made his company a partnership with Thomas Burnett and Lindsay Goeltz. The partnership was incorporated in 1945 into the Hunt Corporation with Goeltz as President and Hunt and Burnett as Vice ­presidents. Soon after this, Grover Hunt sold his common stock and only retained his preferred stock.(56)

Since the beginning of the crystal business there have been many contributors to its development and expansion. Of all the contributors, Ed Minnich, Charles Fagan, Howard Bair, and Dr. W. A. Parlin, plus Grover Hunt, Linwood Gagne and P. Reynold Hoffman were the "pioneers". After the war, there was only one pioneer, P. R. Hoffman, still in the local crystal industry. Grover Hunt died in 1964 of cancer, and Lindwood Gagne has been reported as having gone back to the sea as a radio operator.(57)

* "During World War II, I cut 65% of all the quartz cut in the United States and all our allies by the figure supplied to me by the Mineral Reserve Bureau of our government in Washington, D. C."

­ P. Reynold Hoffman

(Letter of March 10, 1975)

Further Developments: the 1950's and the 1960's

During the years after World War II, the industry gradually de­veloped new markets and made further improvements in its technology. There were changes in the older companies and new companies were form­ed. In the fifties there was the Korean War and recovery from it. In the sixties there were new developments, such as the space program, and the Vietnam War.

During the 1950's and the 1960's new markets opened up for the crys­tal industry. Computers started to use crystals as delay circuits to store information in the information sector when it appeared too rapidly for the computer to absorb at once. In particular, IBM and National Cash Register became the customers of a local crystal firm, Reeves­-Hoffman.(58)  Ship to shore radios and police and taxi radios began to demand the use of crystals. There were new applications in military equipment; for example, the filter circuit of the guidance system of a missile which allows the pilot to guide the missile from the plane with a miniature joy stick.(59) Crys­tals also began to be used in telephone communications and in the outer space program. In outer space not only were crystals used in communication, but also in any equipment that needed accuracy in timing and measure­ment, such as a camera.(60)  The space program has had some effect on the crystal industry, but not as much as might be expected. It has produced some business, and something for the companies to be proud about, that their crys­tals were on the moon or in a special satellite. Similarly, the Vietnam War has not had as large an effect on the industry as the other wars. An impor­tant reason for that has been the crystal industry's attempt to diversify away from just being militarily oriented. Crystals are still extremely important for control in radar and missiles and for military communications, but the crystal companies have commercial accounts and dealings when military orders diminish.(61)

Besides new markets and diversification, the crystal industry has also seen many improvements in technology during the 1950's and the 1960's. The saw and the lap machine have constantly been improved. The development of adhesives has made it possible to have faster mass production while working with smaller and smaller crystals. Instead of processing each individual crystal separately, many of them are joined together with an adhesive and processed together. Then they are placed in a solvent to separate them at the end of the processing.(62)  One of the largest advances since World War II has been the development and use of synthetic quartz. The government started the development of artificial quartz through a RD (Research & Development) contract to Fort Monmouth. About the same time P. R. Hoffman began to develop the first civilian source in 1958 under the direction of his chief chemist, Warren J. Hunt.(63)  During the sixties the synthetic quartz process was steadily improved, until most companies today use at least 50% synthetic quartz in their products. Synthetic quartz has the advantage of having little waste and creating more mass production. On the other hand, it cannot be used for products with frequencies in or beyond the fifth harmonic.(64)

In addition to new markets and improved technology in these years, several new companies were formed. Immediately after World War II in 1946 Reeves-­Hoffman Corporation was established with P. R. Hoffman as president. The corporation was a result of the combination of P. R. Hoffman's finishing plant above the Comerford Theater and Reeves Sound Laboratories from New York City. In 1942 Hazard Reeves had founded Reeves Sound Laboratory. In 1945 he sold out his holdings to Claude Neon, Inc., and moved to Carlisle, making use of P, R. Hoffman Company's facilities located over the theater. Then on June 9, 1946, he combined with Hoffman. In 1948 a new building was constructed for the company on Cherry Street, with another extension built in 1960. The parent corporation changed its name in 1956 from Claude Neon to Dynamics Corporation of America, and the Carlisle plant became the Reeves-­Hoffman Division. During the sixties Reeves Hoffman became the first Pennsylvania company to receive the orange “RIOAP" flag from the Signal Corps (1961) and the first crystal company to be honored by a "Zero Effects" award from the Martin Company for its work on the "Bull­pup missile."(65)

In the early fifties two other new companies were formed. In 1951, Hill Electronics was established by B. C. Hill with a staff of 5 in a garage in New Kingston.(66) By 1957 the company had outgrown its New Kingston quarters, and it moved to Mechanicsburg to a new plant. In 1969 Hill Electronics was sold to Erie Technological Products and moved to Carlisle to be merged with Hunt Corporation to form Erie Frequency Control.(67)  After the war, Thomas Burnett had left Hunt Corporation in 1946 and Lindsay Goeltz had died in 1948. Samuel Ryesky then bought Lindsay Goeltz's sharps from his widow and gained control of the corporation until he sold it to Erie.(68)

The second new company, McCoy Electronics, was established in 1952 in Mount Holly Springs by Luther McCoy and Donald Eutz. At the time there were three outside stockholders, Mark E. Garber, Paul Teitrich, and Mer­Coyle. In 1961 when it seemed best to expand, there was not enough capital. Consequently, McCoy Electronics merged with Oak Manufacturing Company in Crystal Lake, Illinois, on February 1, 1961.(69)

The newest crystal company established in this area is W. J. Hunt Company. Warren Hunt resigned from P. R. Hoffman in 1965 and formed his own company on the Ritner Highway six miles west of Carlisle for the purpose of growing synthetic quartz. One of Hunt's major problems was predicting the size of quartz to be grown. Consequently, one of the biggest develop­ments for Warren Hunt was a method of predicting the size of quartz, plus a way of diminishing certain elements of impurities from getting into the quartz. In 1968, W. J. Hunt Company suffered a slump in business and by 1969 it became necessary for Warren Hunt to sell. In October 1969 Hunt sold his company to his largest customer, Motorola, Inc.(70)

In addition to the new companies, both Standard Piezo and P, R, Hoff­man Company experienced changes since World War II. In 1961, when P. R. Hoffman decided to retire, he sold his company to an Ecuadorian Corporation, which operated out of Panama. Later the corporation changed its name to Aiken Industries, of which P. R. Hoffman Company is a subsidiary.(71) Stan­dard Piezo was owned by the local group of men headed by John Fowler until 1954, when it was sold to Brown & Allen Chemicals of Staten Island, New York. The next year, 1955, there was another ownership change when Hupp Corporation of Detroit bought Standard Piezo. Before long in 1958, Hupp Corporation sold the company to two of its local employees, Hermann Shall and Wallace H. Samuelson. Under the ownership of these two men the company changed its name to Piezo Crystal Company. Not until 1963 did it change hands again. In 1963 the company was sold to Renwell Industries, and lat­er it became a division of Sunshine Mining Company. Of all the companies, Standard Piezo or Piezo Crystal Company changed its ownership or identity the most times.(72)

By the middle or late 1960's all the companies in the Carlisle area had become owned by national corporations. One of the major reasons why local industries sold to national corporations was financial concerns. Technology demanded a higher degree of automation every year which re­quired rather expensive equipment. To finance this equipment, there was a need for a better financial base than most of the local companies could provide. Furthermore, national corporations had the finances to con­centrate on research and development and set up research departments in the companies. Besides the increased need for finances, the individuals who started out their companies on practically nothing found they could turn their investment into a great deal of cash and this was very attractive. In addition, selling to a national corporation provided business experience and ties for a larger corporation and security.(73)  In turn, conglomerates or national corporations bought the crystal companies because they were good investments. Conglomerates cannot acquire companies that are in the same business because of anti­trust laws; so they acquire companies in unrelated businesses, such as the crystal companies.(74)  Thus during the fifties and the sixties the local crystal companies became divisions of national corporations.

The Crystal Industry Today

All the local companies today are now subsidiaries or divisions of major corporations, but all of them can be traced back to Standard Piezo and Dickinson College. From Dickinson College and the quartz cutting done there Standard Piezo developed. Then, Grover Hunt and P. R. Hoffman broke from Standard Piezo and formed their own compa­nies. Later companies. Reeves­-Hoffman, McCoy Electronics, Hill Electronics and W. J. Hunt Co. were all formed or established by either one of the original pioneers or one of their employees. Today the crystal business seems to be booming. According to a recent article, order books are full and deliveries are backed up as much as two or three months.(75)

In the seventies the crystal industry has developed several new markets. One of the largest is the watch market. The crystal for the watch was developed jointly between Reeves­-Hoffman and the Hamilton Watch Company in 1966, The first sizable order, however, was not received until 1970.(76)  Other new developments or markets for crystals are ultrasonics, paging receivers, door ­openers, hearing aids for children having trouble hearing in a classroom, controls for coating a certain material such as a camera lens, and crystal filters that can knock out unwanted frequencies.(77) The future looks very bright for the crystal industry. New opportunities for the use of crystals seem to be appearing steadily. After all, the crystal is a small package that offers accurate control for anything involving communication, time, a missile, or a burglar alarm system. New markets are definitely not exhausted yet.(78)

Not only does the industry have new markets to discover yet, it also has plenty of room for technological advances. Today the business is still labor intensive. If someone who ran a crystal business 20 years ago walked into a plant today, he would still feel fairly familiar. Nevertheless, the crystal industry has made tremendous advances.(79)

Over forty years ago the first crystal was fabricated in the Carlisle area by students of Dickinson College. Later the crystal business became commercial under Grover Hunt, Linwood Gagne, and P. R. Hoffman. The crystal industry grew and progressed through their work and development. Today it is an important and necessary industry for modern communication.



Appendix I: Quartz Crystal

Quartz was originally called ''Krustallos'' by the ancient Greeks who believed it was ice water frozen forever by the gods. Quartz is actually silicon dioxide (SiO2) crystallized in 6­sided prisms with a hardness of 7 on the Moh's scale. Every piece of quartz has three major axes, X. Y, and Z and for the quartz crystal industry it is important to locate the proper angle from the axes at which to saw a quartz wafer. Brazilian quartz especially has a piezo electrical quality. When an electrical voltage is applied to a Brazilian crystal wafer, it will vibrate or oscillate at a constant number of times per second, from several thousand to several million times a second. This is frequency. A frequency can be determined beforehand by choosing the proper angle at which to cut a wafer and by calculating the correct finished dimensions. This property of quartz crystal is very valuable because of its accuracy and ability to stabilize frequencies for communications.

In recent years the ability to "grow" quartz has been developed. The process takes place in an autoclave (like a pressure cooker) under 9000 lbs. of pressure per square inch. In the bottom of the autoclave 250 lbs. of natural quartz chips are placed and seeds are put in the seed rack at the top. A solution of de­ionized water and sodium carbonate is added, and then the pressure is applied. The chips combine with the solution and are elevated to the top rank where the quartz crystal grows in a constant temperature in a time ranging from 45 to 80 days. Although this synthetic or "cultured" quartz fulfills many of the functions of natural quartz, natural quartz is still needed for some of the highest frequencies.

Information was obtained from:

1. Derrick, Judy, "The Crystal Industry: Big Business built Around Tiny Particles," in Carlisle Shopper's Guide, (Wednesday, June 5, 1968) p. 1.

2. Maxwell, Wilmer, "Crystal Industry Marks 30th Year in Carlisle, " in The Evening Sentinel, LXXXI, #271, (October 26, 1962) p. 7.

Appendix II: The Companies Today



453 Lincoln Street, Carlisle, Pa.

Division of Erie Technological Products.


General Manager of the Division: Edward A. Miller.



321 Cherry Street. Carlisle, Pa.

Division of Aiken Industries, Inc.


President: Robert W. Birrell

Vice President and Sales Manager (Crystal Products): John W. Mountz

Division Comptroller: Robert T. Mehring

Sales Manager (Machine Products): Leon A. Baker

Personnel Director: Wilmer B. Maxwell



Mount Holly Springs, Pa.

Division of Oak Industries, Inc., Crystal Lake, Illinois.


President: Luther W. McCoy

Vice President for Operations: John Reighter

Vice President for Engineering: Edward Boise

Vice President for Sales: Martin Myers

Personnel Manager: William Laffey



Ritner Highway

Parent Company ­Motorola, Inc., Franklin Park. Illinois.


Manager: Nicholas C. Lias



100 K Street, Carlisle, Pa.

Division of Sunshine Mining Company, Kellogg, Idaho

President: Wallace C. Wilson

Sales Manager: Carroll Rahn

Chief Engineer: Charles J. Jensik

Manager of Manufacturing: Kermit E. Lackey



400 West North Street

Division of Dynamics Corporation of America, New York, N. Y.


President: Arthur R. Muller

Vice President of Sales: James D. Hartlin

Vice President of Finance and Administration: Gerald E. Fleming

Vice President of Manufacturing: Gerald Day


Appendix III: Addresses


C. H. Masland and Sons ­ 50 Spring Road, Carlisle, Pa.

Mr. Edward Hoffman's House ­ 544 N. Hanover St., Carlisle, Pa.

First location of Standard Piezo ­ Cedar Street and West Luther St., where Handymart is now.

G. C. Hunt and Sons in WWII ­ 453 Lincoln St. where Erie Frequency Control is now.

Hall's Furniture Store ­ 133 N. Hanover Street, Carlisle, Pa.

Comerford Theater ­ Carlisle Theater now, 42 W. High St.

Carlisle Crystal ­ Behind Baughman's Men's Store, 132 N. Hanover St., in the Chevrolet garage.



Interviews by Patricia McCommon:

Beam, David A., Tuesday, October 8, 1974, 2:00 p. m., R.D. #7, Carlisle (Mr. Beam's house).

Brubaker, Hoyt, Thursday, October 17, 1974, 7:00 p. m., R. D. #1, Boiling Springs, Pa. (Mr. Brubaker's house).

Fagan, Charles C., Tuesday, November 12, 1974, 2:30 p.m. , C. H. Masland and Sons.

Hoffman, Bertha, Monday, October 28, 1974, 2:00 p. m., Homewood Home.

Hoffman, P. Reynold, Thursday, October 10, 1974, 2:00 p. m., R.D. #6, Carlisle, Pa. (Mr. Hoffman's house).

Hunt, Warren, Tuesday, October 29. 1974, 3:00 p.m. , 242 Walnut Street, Carlisle, Pa. (Mr. Hunt's house).

McCoy, Luther, Tuesday, November 5, 1974, 3:00 p. m., McCoy Electronics.

Miller, Edward, Monday, October 28, 1974, 4:00 p. m., Erie Frequency Control.

Minnich, Edward, Summary of a Telephone Conversation, November 6, 1974, in the evening.

Muller, Arthur R., Monday, November 11, 1974, 1:45 p.m., Reeves­Hoffman.

Reader, F. Eugene, Thursday, October 24, 1974, 2:00 p.m.,  Dickinson Law School.



"College Radio to Broadcast," in The Dickinsonian, LIX, #26, (May L2. 1932),2.

Derrick, Judy, "The Crystal Industry: Big Business Built Around Tiny Particles," in Carlisle Shopper's Guide, (Wednesday, June 5, 1968)1, 8.

Gentzel, Bob, "Quartz not Pint­sized Industry," in Metro­West, (July L­2, 1974) L.

Laffey, William, "The Quartz Crystal in the Cumberland Valley," in The McCoy News, 1, #2 (January 1966), 2; #3 (,February 1966), 2; #5 (April 1966) 1.

Maxwell, Wilmer, "Crystal Industry Marks 30th Year in Carlisle," in The Evening Sentinel, LXXXI, #271 (October 26, 1962) , 7.

Reeves­-Hoffman Division Information Pamphlet.

Shoemaker, Jane, "Quartz Industry began with Woodcarver," in Chicago  Today, (August 7, 1974),

W3YC Makes Rapid Strides," The Dickinsonian, LIX, #28 (June 3, 1932) 2.


(1) Gentzel, Bob, "Quartz not Pint­sized Industry, " in Metro­West, (July 1­2, 1974) 1.

(2) Fagan, Charles C., November 12, 1974, p. 1. Minnich, Edward, November 6, 1974, p. 1.

(3) Muller, Arthur, November 11 1974, p, 4. Minnich, p. 1.

(4) Muller, p. 4.

(5) Maxwell, Wilmer, "Crystal Industry Marks 30th Year in Carlisle." in The Evening Sentinel, LXXXI, #271 October 26, 1962), p, 7, Fagan, p. 1.

(6) Fagan, p. 1. Several persons also stated that Grover Hunt helped the students to set up their first muck saw and cut their first crystal. (Muller, p. 4, McCoy, Luther, November 5, 1974, p. 2) Fagan's statement seems the most likely since he was one of the students while neither Muller nor McCoy was involved with crystals at that time.

(7) Fagan, p. 1. Fagan reports that the students had their first crystal in 1932. Furthermore, a Dickinsonian article, "College Radio to Broadcast," (Dickinsonian, LIX, #26, (May 12, 1932), 2) states that the students were making crystals in May 1932, but it does not say that these were their first crystals. The article, "Crystal Industry Marks 30th Year in Carlisle," (The Evening Sentinel, LXXXI, #271 (October 26, 1962) 7), on the contrary, announces that the first "ham" crystal was completed in 1930 or 1931. The year 1932 may possibly be too late since Edward Minnich and Howard Bair graduated in 1931. On the other hand, these two seem to have remained connected with the radio even after graduating as seen by the article, W3YC Makes Rapid Strides, " (Dickinsonian, LIX, #28 (June 3, 1932) 2), and they may have made their first crystals when they were no longer students.

(8) Derrick, Judy, "The Crystal Industry: Big Business Built Around Tiny Particles," in Carlisle Shopper's Guide, (Wednesday, June 5, 1968)1. Hunt, Warren, October 29, 1974, p. 2, Beam, David, October 8, 1974, p. 10, Laffey, William, "The Quartz Crystal in the Cumberland Valley," in The McCoy News, I, #2 (January 1966) 2.

(9) Hoffman, P. Reynold, p. 1.

(10) Fagan, p. 1.

(11) Fagan, p. 1. Minnich, p. 1.

(12) Fagan, p. 1. Hoffman, P., p. 1­2. McCoy, p. 2. Beam, p. 12. Laffey, I, #3 (February 1966), 2.

(13) Minnich, p. 1.

(14) Minnich, p. 1. Fagan, p. 1. McCoy, p. 2.

(15) Fagan, p. 1. Maxwell, p. 7.

(16) Fagan, p. 3. Minnich, p. 1.

(17) Muller, p. 4. Maxwell, p. 7.

(18) Brubaker, Hoyt, October 17, 1974, p. 1, 5.

(19) Fagan, pp. 2,3

(20) Beam, p. 1. Hoffman, P., p. 1. Laffey, I, #3 (February 1966), p.2. Linwood Gagne was also spoken of as operating a radio shack in Ohio where he finished crystals (Muller, p. 4), and as having started a crystal finishing plant which sold crystals to airline and marine equipment companies. (Reader, F. Eugene, October 24, 1974, p. 1)

(21) The information on the involvement of Tyrone in the crystal industry of this area comes from basically two sources: Beam, p. 1, and Laffey, I, #3 (February 1966), p. 2.  P. Hoffman (p.3) does state that the first major order far Standard Piezo came from Tyrone. Other sources either state that Gagne wanted Hunt to come to Ohio and join him, and that when Hunt refused, Gagne came to Carlisle. Minnich, p. 1, Muller, p.4) or that Hunt got Gagne to come East and join him. (Brubaker, p. 1, 13). The date 1935 is supported by Maxwell, p. 7 and Muller, p. 4.

(22) Derrick, p. 1.

(23) Fagan, p. 3. Minnich, p. 1.

(24) Laffey, I, #5 (April 1966), p. 1. Beam, p. 2.

(25) Beam, p. 2, Hoffman, P. , p. 1.

(26) Brubaker, pp. 1, 13. Beam, p. 2. Hoffman, P., p. 1.

(27) Beam, p. 2. Hoffman, P. , p. 1.

(28) Maxwell, p. 7. Brubaker, p. 1.

(29) Hunt, p. 6. McCoy, p. 2. Brubaker, p. 2. P. R. Hoffman claims that both the idea behind the lap and the machine work were his. (p. 2)

(30) Hunt, p. 6.

(31) Beam, p. 5.

(32) Muller, p. 5, In several interviews there was some discussion about patent lawyers and patent troubles. Mr. Beam (pp. 6,7) stated that Hunt had a patent on the lap but allowed Hoffman to manufacture the lap machines. Hoffman then engaged patent lawyers to investigate the patent and found that it was null and void because Hunt had used the machine in a separate room and sold crystals off of it before obtaining the patent. Furthermore, according to Beam, P. R. Hoffman's and Beam's names should have been on the patent because they contributed something to the invention of the machines. Mr. P. Hoffman (p. 2) stated that behind his back Hunt engaged a patent lawyer two years after the invention of the lap machine to obtain a patent. And since it is necessary to have everyone who contributed to an invention on a patent or it is null, he came to Hoffman to sign off. In the meantime P. R. Hoffman had sold a machine to a company in Oregon, making any patent null and void since the machine had been sold commercially first.

(33) Brubaker, pp. 1, 2.

(34) Maxwell, p. 7.

(35) Hoffman, Bertha, October 28, 1974, p. 1.

(36) Hoffman, P., p. 2.

(37) McCoy, p. 2. Hoffman, P., p. 11.

(38) Brubaker, p. 9.

(39) Hoffman, P., p. 6.

(40) McCoy, p. 3. Reader, p. 3.

(41) McCoy, p. 3. Mr. Brubaker (p. 6) stated that Standard Piezo, obtained an x-­ray about 1943­44. Then, Hoyt Brubaker and Howard Miller worked on perfecting it and discovered a great deal of information on it concerning the different cuts at different angles, six to eight years before it was printed. (p. 10) In fact, General Electric X-­ray Company asked them to help sell the x-­rays to customers because they knew as much or more about the x-­ray and its uses.

(42) Reader, pp. 1,2.

(43) Hoffman, P., p. 4.

(44) Reader, p. 2.

(45) Reader, p. 3.

(46) Hoffman, P. , p. 9.

(47) Reader, p. 6.

(48) Maxwell, p. 7. Beam, p. 13.

(49) Hoffman, B., p. 2.

(50) Reader, p. 5.

(51) Reader, p. 5,

(52) McCoy, p. 4. Muller, p. 6.

(53) Brubaker, p. 3.

(54) McCoy, p. 9.

(55) Reader, p. 6.

(56) McCoy, p. 5, Maxwell, p. 7.

(57) Derrick, p. 1. Reader, p. 8.

(58) Muller, p. 3.

(59) McCoy, p. 4. Muller, p. 2.

(60) Muller, p. 2. For example, Reeves ­Hoffman's crystals were used to relay pictures of Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969, back to earth from the moon. (Reeves­-Hoffman Information Pamphlet).

(61) Muller, p. 2. Brubaker, p. 15.

(62) Brubaker, p. 15.

(63) Derrick, p. 1. Hoffman, P. , p. 5. Warren Hunt (p. 3) stated that the original development of synthetic quartz belonged to Brush Development in Cleveland, Ohio.

(64) Hoffman, P., p. 10.

(65) Maxwell, p. 7. Hoffman, P., p. 5. Muller, p. 1. Derrick, p. 8. Reeves-­Hoffman Information Pamphlet.

(66) Derrick, p. 8. Maxwell, p. 7. Brubaker, p. 5.

(67) Miller, Edward, October 28, 1974, p. 1.

(68) McCoy, p. 5. Derrick, p. 8. Maxwell, p. 7.

(69) McCoy, pp. 1, 4. Derrick, p. 8. Maxwell, p. 7.

(70) Hunt, pp. 2, 3, 5, 8. Derrick, p. 8.

(71) Hoffman, P., p. 8.

(72) Maxwell, p. 7. Muller, pp. 5, 6. Reader, p. 7.Derrick, p. 8.

(73) Muller, p. 7. Brubaker, p. 14. Reader, p. 9. Miller, p. 1.

(74) Reader, p. 10.

(75) Shoemaker, Jane, "Quartz Industry Began with Woodcarver," in Chicago Today (August 7, 1974).

(76) Muller, p. 3.

(77) McCoy, p. 6.

(78) Miller, pp. 3, 4.

(79) Miller, p. 1.