Oddities and Interesting Things

All work and no play makes Bliley's just a place to work. Below are a selection of oddities from the archives.


  • A Big Day Off in August of 1944---The Company Picnic at Waldameer Park
  • How do you spell "Bliley"?
  • Recognizing Achievements in 1934
  • Good Food.Good Company. Good Music?
  • Christmas Card for the "Good Old Boys" of the 1950s
  • Post-WWII Competition from Surplus Crystals
  • Mining Quartz in Someone Else's Backyard


    The Second World War had a huge impact on the company with it growing from a small business with several dozen employees to nearly two thousand. It was a stressful time for everyone with production lines running twenty-four hours a day seven-days-a-week. Planning for a company summer picnic would be a wonderful distraction. The picnic was held at Erie's Waldameer Amusement Park on the shores of Lake Erie and at the entrance to the 12-mile long Presque Isle State Park. The company rented the entire park. By any measure it was a huge success by any measure. The days activities included picnic food, baseball, amusement rides, swimming, and dancing to a local "big band".

    The committee created a memorial brochure for all of the employees and my father took some home movies and edited them into a "polished" film by amateur standards. The film was silent, and features a satirical look at two of the company's first couple of employees drinking away on the bluff overlooking Lake Erie oblivious to the days' other activities, and the amount of food and beer they were consuming. This is a running gag throughout the 13-minute movie. The two "good-ol'-boys" characters were George Wright, vice president of sales, and Bob Schlaudecker, manufacturing/production plant manager.

    Several portions of these movies were used by Erie's local public television service (PBS) TV station, WQLN, for a historical documentary on Waldameer Park in 1996 on the park's 100th anniversary. Then president, David M. Bliley, was interviewed in the program regarding the movie.

    After all of these years, this old home movie documentary is still fun to watch.

    PDF Icon Picnic Memoir in Print (PDF/5 Mb)

    icon movie Frank Dawson Bliley, Founder and President's, Silent Home Movies

    WARNING: These files are very big MP4 movies and may take several minutes to download before playing. Be patient.
    CoverCover of Publication
    (Click for Enlargement)


    It seems like everyone has an opinion the want to share, and that includes Bliley's customers.

    Page IconHow do you spell "Bliley"?
    Apparently, there are 100 different ways.

     Spelling Card


    "Hear Ye! Hear Ye!" Here is a bulletin board announcement citing a major achievement--the first ahead-of-schedule shipment! Read it over and you will quickly see that employee motivational tools have definitely change since 1934 when this notice was posted at Bliley's. It is a mixture of recognition of achievements,whit, sarcasm, and optimism. It must not have been a bombshell, as most of the employees of the day worked hung around for more than 25 years!

     Photo of Announcement

     Tour of the Factory in 1935
    (A peak into the production areas)



    The guys and gals working at the Union Station in 1936 held their sixth "annual banquet" at a local country club. The menu and song sheet suggests that everyone was planning on it being a pretty good time. Read the crystal-flavored menu and employee-written version of "Home on the Range".

     Lyrics and Photos of the Program

    WARNING: This material is suitable for mixed company and young children. Some of the humor may be lost if you do not know the process of manufacturing crystals and electronics. If you do, then I guaranty you will find this tongue-in-cheek humor great.

    Program Cover


    Passing on Christmas wishes to the company's customers appears to be a little different in the 1950s than the way business is done in the 21st Century. Back then, it was fully a male-dominated industry, and this Christmas card reflects that. Since there are other cards of this period with a definite business threat, I am assuming these were selectively mailed to "preferred" customers.

     Details of the card and photos

    WARNING: Some people may find the contents of the card offensive as it contains nudity. It is presented here as a historical/cultural artifact and in no way is intended to offend anyone or corrupt the morals of our visitors.


    During the Second World War, Bliley's trained many future competitors on crystal manufacturing techniques. Following the war, many of these infant companies took advantage of the millions of fresh crystal units available on the surplus market. One of the produced a do-it-yourself kit for the amateur radio market. They called their product--"Talkie X-TALS". While this product was not a major competitor, the surplus crystal market as a whole did eat into the market for amateur radio sales.

     Photos and background for Talkie X-TALS

     Talkei X-TALS Cover


    In 1967, young neighborhood "entrepreneur" and amateur geologist discovered a pile of raw natural quartz in the field behind the new plant on Grandview Boulevard. The pile was about three foot high and about ten foot in diameter. Assuming it was production scrap and waste, he started to "mine it" by the bucket-full. Considering it a golden opportunity to make a few bucks, he ran an ad in a local newspaper and in a sporting magazine. Unfortunately, one of Bliley's employees noticed the ad and turned him in to management. No, the company gave him a break, and did not insist he "do time", but asked him to stop "mining".

    Actually, the "scrap" was really crystal stock of marginal value that was kept at hand in case of unplanned shortage.

    STORY Full-Length Story—Updated 2021 (5 Mb)

     Enlargement of the Advertisement