The "Talkie-XTAL" Grinding Kit

Below is a photo of a kit marketed to radio amateurs for the grinding of war-surplus military crystals into the ham bands. The kit is manufactured by the Crystal Products Company of Kansas City, Missouri. The exact date of production is not certain, but it certainly was shortly after World War II. The crystal holder is marked as a "CR-1A/AR" and also marked with a U.S. Government manufacturer code of "CZX".

Photo of Kit

> Low-Rez (57K) 450 x 553
> High-Rez (190K) 900 x 1105



  1. TL: Box Cover 5" x 6" x 1/2"
  2. TR: Bag of Carborundum grinding powder
  3. BL: Inside of box with crystal holder (BL), round electrodes (2)
  4. BR: Instruction Sheet

The kit appeared to have been furnished with a second unit which was probably similar to the Bliley AX-2. There are two slots for the rectangular electrodes. There are signs of them being slipped into the cuts into the interior slots. The back of the black crystal holder has a rotating plug (15/16" diameter) that can be removed with the tips of a needlenose pliers. I have never seen this holder before, but then again, I am no expert on the subject.

It is interesting to note that the burnt-orange color prominently used in this product is the same as was used by the American Radio Relay League and the Bliley Electric Company in the 1930s. I have yet to discover which group used the color first and may been copied by the other.

Below is an extract provides all that I know about the Crystal Products Company. If you can elaborate on this product or can provide corrections to the description, I would appreciate it.

Thank you.

Chuck Bliley


by Virgil E. Bottom, 3441 High Meadows Dr., Abilene, Texas 79605
Extract from the "Proceedings" of the 35th Annual Frequency Control Symposium, pp. 3-12, 1981

"Soon thereafter Zeigler and George (Jack) McGrew organized a company called Crystal Products Co. Except for a small operation called Aerion, owned by the Aircraft Accessories Co., Crystal Products was the first crystal company in the Kansas City Area. All of the other factories in the area sprang from the company organized by McGrew and Zeigler.

By 1943 about 130 manufacturers were engaged in the production of crystal units. Twenty three of these were in the Chicago area, 20 in the New York area, 15 in the Carlisle area and 14 in the Kansas City area. The remainder were scattered over 20 states from Oregon to Florida and California to Massachusetts. The supervision of so many small plants, distributed over such an area was a major problem and the members of the staff of the QCS spent much time on travel duty instructing the new manufacturers, helping them with technical problems, correlating test equipment and settling arguments between them and the Signal Corps Inspectors".

A complete copy of this fine history can be found on the Web site of the IEEE.

Return to the Bliley Electric Company History site.