AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

"Crystal quartz -- created by nature, re-created by man." Krystallos, from 1962, is the story of how Bell Laboratories and Western Electric pooled their talents to develop a method of growing quartz crystals in the lab. In the 19th century, brothers Jacques and Pierre Curie discovered piezoelectrics when they found that striking or squeezing quartz would produce an electric signal. By the 1960s, tiny quartz plates were being used as electronic filters for telephones and other communications media.

Brazil is about the only source of natural, high-grade quartz. But when the irregularities are removed, the cost of the remaining quartz exceeds gold. How to keep the cost down and furnish an unlimited supply was the challenge to chemists and engineers. After many failures, a delicate balance of temperature, pressure, and time enabled them to grow quartz crystals from tiny crystal wafers and seeds. This film documents a foolproof method for creating crystals clearer and more perfect than nature provides.

An Owen Murphy Production
Director: Paul Cohen

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 04/25/2011