Guide to the James Knights Co. Records

Collection ID:
James Knights Co.
Physical Description:
0.6 Cubic feet
1 box
1 Film reel
Collection documents proposed legislation regulating the import and export of watch components. Also included is a film entitled "Crystals for the Critical".

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The collection comprises internal company documents primarily concerning the company's efforts in producing crystals for watches. Documents include correspondence with customers, suppliers, potential and active partners, technical specifications and notes, reports, financial records, and market research. One large file contains correspondence and memoranda relating to proposed legislation regulating the import and export of watch components.
The company produced the 1951 film, Crystals for the Critical, as a marketing and employee relations tool. It documents all aspects of the work of the James Knights Company.

Collection is arranged into one series.

The James Knights Company of Sandwich, Illinois was founded in 1942 to develop and manufacture crystal-controlled oscillators. In creating the company, James Knights and Leon Faber were responding to the enormous demand for frequency control in military radio and telephone communications during World Ware II. Faber, a utility company employee, had previous experience making quartz crystal control units for amateur radio enthusiasts, also known as "hams." James Knights owned a local electrical supply store.
After the war James Knights produced crystal units for military aircraft radios. The firm became a subsidiary of CTS (Chicago Telephone Supply) in 1964 and the company name changed to CTS Knights. In addition to supplying crystals for use in military applications, the company manufactured crystal oscillators for use in a variety of other electronic devices including computers. During the early 1970s, the company was interested in the use of crystals in watches and clocks. The paper documents in the collection focus primarily on this effort.
The company continued to produce crystal units as a division of CTS, now a global electronics firm, until 2002 when it was shut down.

Processing Information
Collection processed by Wendy Shay, September 2004.
Wendy Shay
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
Collection donated by Gary Van Cleave in 2002.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research research access. Special arrangements required to view materials in cold storage. Using cold room materials requires a three hour waiting period. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.
Preferred Citation
James Knights Co. Records, 1951-1981, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center
Walter Guyton Cady Paper, 1903-1974 (NMAH.AC.0046)
Virgil Eldon Bottom Collection, 1936-1983 (NMAH.AC.0148)

Ownership and Custodial History
Ownership and Custodial History
Collection transferred from the Division of History of Technology (now known as the Division of Works and Industry)to the Archives Center in 2003.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Memorandums Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Specifications Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clocks and watches Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial records Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures (visual works) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012