Crystal Clear: The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II

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John Wiley & Sons, Nov 30, 2011 - Technology & Engineering - 240 pages
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Quartz crystal-a technology that changed the tide of World War II

Some of the defining leaps in technology in the twentieth century occurred during the Second World War, from radar to nuclear energy. Often left out of historical discussions are quartz crystals, which proved to be just as pivotal to the Allied victory-and to post-war development-as other technologies. Quartz crystals provided the U.S. military, for the first time, with reliable communication on the front lines, and then went on to become the core of some of the most basic devices of the post-war era, from watches, clocks, and color televisions, to cell phones and computers.

In Crystal Clear, Richard Thompson relates the story of the quartz crystal in World War II, from its early days as a curiosity for amateur radio enthusiasts, to its use by the United States Armed Forces. It follows the intrepid group of scientists and engineers from the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army as they raced to create an effective quartz crystal unit. They had to find a reliable supply of radio-quality quartz; devise methods to reach, mine, and transport the quartz; find a way to manufacture quartz crystal oscillators rapidly; and then solve the puzzling "aging problem" that plagued the early units. Ultimately, the development of quartz oscillators became the second largest scientific undertaking in World War II after the Manhattan Project.

Bringing to light a little-known aspect of World War II, Crystal Clear offers a glimpse inside one of the most significant efforts in the annals of engineering.

 

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Contents

The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II Introduction We Were Heavily Armed and We Had Crystals
1
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 1 From Wire to Wireless The Developmentand Acceptanceof Tactical Radio
5
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 2 Crystal Controlthe Great Gamble
17
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 3 The Signal Corps Lays the Foundation
31
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 4 Nothing Else to Do but Grind Crystals
55
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 5 Riding the Flat Wheel LimitedOverseeing a Mass Production Industry
69
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 6 Supplying a Mass Production Industrythe Civilian Government Steps In
93
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 7 The Whole Radio Crystal Program of the Armed Services Depends Upon ...
117
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 9 The Aging CrisisStopgap Measures
145
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 10 The Aging CrisisPhysics to the Rescue
153
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 11 Without Crystals You Have Radio With Them Communications
163
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II Appendix 1 CrystalControlled Equipment
175
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II Appendix 2 Crystal Manufacturers
179
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II References
183
The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II Index
219
Copyright

The Struggle for Reliable Communications Technology in World War II 8 God Made Lots of Small Crystals
129

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About the author (2011)

RICHARD J. THOMPSON, Jr., is the Dean of Mathematics and Science at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. He received a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from The Pennsylvania State University in 1994 and has served as a physics professor and department chairman at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas.

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