Article ID: CBB200628960

Variations and Combinations: Invention and Development of Quartz Clock Technologies at AT&T (2016)


Quartz clock technologies played a central role in twentieth century timekeeping, telecommunication and society at large. This article explores the process of the invention and construction of the first quartz clock by Warren Marrison and his associate researchers at AT&T, who needed the clock to monitor the corporation's self-maintained crystal-controlled frequency standard. The frequency standard was deemed essential for the needs of electronic telecommunication in the 1920s. Based on research notebooks and contemporary publications, this article examines the origins of the technology in the corporation's earlier tuning-fork-frequency-standard, which included the first electronic clock. Providing a detailed examination of the various electronic methods used by Marrison and his colleagues and their origins, the article examines the way the modern, scientifically educated inventor, working within a large industrial laboratory and enjoying its rich material and intellectual resources, collected, combined and adjusted the resources his disposal to produce novelty.

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Authors & Contributors
Hazlett, Thomas W.
Aguillaume, Cécile
Roh, Chul-Young
Farley, Tom
Vatz, Mara E.
Wolpin, Stewart
American Heritage of Invention and Technology
Icon: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology
Technology's Stories
Telematics and Informatics
Rittenhouse: Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise
Johns Hopkins University Press
Ohio University
Yale University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
MIT Press
Duke University Press
Technological innovation
Technology and government
Electronics industry
Napoleon I, Emperor of France
Brattain, Walter Houser
Bardeen, John
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
18th century
United States
Tennessee (U.S.)
American Telephone and Telegraph Company
General Electric Company
International Telecommunications Satellite Organization
United States Navy
International Business Machines Corporation

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