View Full Version : Did the P38 really have a Quartz clock

10-22-2008, 05:25 AM
Though they had been invented I was unaware of there use in WW2 aircraft.
I tried to find out here but inconclusive.
Anyone know?




10-22-2008, 07:36 AM
Invented in 1927.... (http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/quartz/technology/quartz.html)

10-23-2008, 08:02 PM
Well there you go -- I've learnt something new again from these topic posts
Once again a fantastic source of information both relevant and trivial-- keep up the good work

10-28-2008, 11:15 PM
As I said in my post, I new that they were invented I was just wondering if they were in P38s as I haven't seen them in WW2 planes before and I hadn't seen a quarts clock untill the mid 60s.


10-29-2008, 03:58 AM
Hmmmmm. It might be possible that P-38 had a quartz clock but I have my doubts too.
Portable quartz clock was first made in 1935 and there was a crystal industry that made over
100,000 quartz crystals in the US alone by 1939 but that only says 'possible'.

OTOH here is a P-38 instrument panel for sale, clock does not say quartz. (http://cgi.ebay.com/P-38-MAIN-INST.-PANEL!!-WWII,-AAF,-B-17,-B-24,-8TH-AF_W0QQitemZ320312788115QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20081 022?IMSfp=TL081022118005r6918#ebayphotohosting)

I would go with the panel used to make the model had an updated clock --- perhaps the person
who made the cockpit model would know the source used?


1948 document by the inventor at Bell Labs. (http://www.ieee-uffc.org/freqcontrol/marrison/Marrison.html#The%20Crystal%20Clock)

Not just talking HH:MM:SS here, the first portable was also very precise:

An outstanding example of the versatility of the quartz clock has been its application to the measurement of gravity at sea. Knowing of its stable properties and its independence of gravity, Dr. Maurice Ewing in December 1935, asked the Bell Telephone Laboratories whether a portable quartz clock could be made available for use during a proposed gravity measuring expedition by submarine in the West Indies. Since this was in line with experimental work already in progress at the time, the first portable "crystal chronometer", shown in Fig. 33, was assembled for this occasion, and was taken by Ewing and his colleagues in the U.S. Submarine Barracuda on the trip80, 81 which began at Coco Solo on November 30, 1936. This was the first application of the GT crystal and the bridge stabilized oscillator in portable equipment. This original crystal chronometer has been on several gravity-measuring expeditions and is still in active service, having been used again under Dr. Ewing's direction during the summer of 1947.

More on the WWII time frame... Bulova would have me believe that they invented quartz movement in 1969.... (http://www.ridgewayclocks.com.au/page/a_story_of_time.html)

In his book Crystal Clear, Richard Thompson relates the story of the quartz crystal in World War II, from its early days as a curiosity for amateur radio enthusiasts, to its use by the US Armed Forces. It follows an intrepid group of scientists and engineers from the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the US Army as they raced to create an effective quartz crystal unit. They had to find a reliable supply of radio-quality quartz, devise methods to reach, mine and transport the quartz, find a way to manufacture quartz crystal oscillators rapidly and then solve the puzzling "aging problem" that plagued the early units.

It was this wartime research which generated the need for large quantities of crystals to support the communication and radar needs of the war. Inevitably these methods were refined, the size of the crystals became smaller and subsequently the possibility of their use in watches emerged. The development of quartz oscillators became the second largest scientific undertaking in World War II after the Manhattan Project.

They were certainly making the crystals for radios. (http://www.tedlind.net/cpd_history.htm)

The use of crystal control in military communications equipment did not become common until immediately prior to World War II. The armed services were in the process of converting to crystal control when the United States entered the war. In 1940, it was estimated that in the event of war, the armed services might require as many as 100,000 units. This seemed like a fantastic quantity at the time. Crystal units were made in a few small shops where a skilled worker might be able to make as many as 10 units a day. Synthetic quartz did not exist and crystals were fashioned by cutting and grinding natural quartz crystal by hand. The process was a specialized lapidary shop when the stones were cut with diamond saws and shaped by hand into wafers. During the war, however, more than 30 million quartz crystal units were produced through a crash program costing more than 1 billion dollars. This project had a priority second only to the development of the atomic bomb. At the peak of the war, more than 125 factories were engaged in the production of quartz crystal units for the armed forces.

Another IEEE paper on history of quartz crystal industry in the US, no WWII AC clocks mentioned. (http://www.ieee-uffc.org/fc_history/bottom.html)

10-31-2008, 04:10 AM
M_Gunz, thanks for that onfo m8.
It just seemed odd.

10-31-2008, 05:32 AM
It's a good spotting.

Please don't count rivets though http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif
as that's an old line about sim fans.

10-31-2008, 01:34 PM
I don't think it is impossibl. It was the equivalent in its day to the F-15 now so you'd expect it to have cutting edge equipment.

10-31-2008, 08:55 PM
It's possible but at least one did not. The panel for sale on eBay has a normal for the day
aviation quality 8 day clock as listed in the details.