When Beth Freeland graduated from college a few years ago, she
disdained going into her father's crystal manufacturing business in
"I felt that I had nothing to contribute and I didn't want to go
to work there just because my father owned it," she said.
Instead, she pursued a degree in mass communications, went to
work as a reporter for Channel 9 in Oklahoma City and moved on to
Finally, in 1993, she was summoned again. "This time I felt that
I had learned a lot and had acquired some experience in marketing,
public relations and sales," Freeland said. "So I decided to come
back and help my brother."
The family-owned International Crystal Manufacturing Co. has
pretty much flowed with the electronics industry in America since
World War II.
In fact, it was during the war that the business was begun.
Founder Lt. Royden Freeland Sr. was assigned to Fort Monmouth,
N.J., where he disassembled captured German radios that were using
the newest crystal technology. He reverse-engineered these radios
and learned how it was done.
Even though crystals had been in use for several years, the
German technology was far superior to anything that had been in use
up to that time.
"When he came back to Oklahoma City after the war, he worked
around some but decided that the crystal industry was where he
should be," Beth said of her father.
So he borrowed $1,000 from his father-in-law and bought some
equipment, then traveled to Dallas to Collins Radio. There, he
managed to make a $100,000 sale, contingent upon his new crystals
being what he said they were.
"His crystals were what he promised and the company has been
growing ever since," Beth said.
The company was founded in the late 1940s and incorporated in
1953, Beth said.
Today, her brother Royden Freeland Jr. and sister Susan Freeland
own the business. Beth and Royden share operating responsibilities.
Susan is an attorney living in Carmel, Calif.
"Royden is the engineer, the one who understands everything and
makes it go," Beth said.
Although she handles the administration, sales and marketing, she
has no title. "We don't like titles around here," she said.
The Freeland children inherited the company in 1978 when Royden
Sr. and wife Virginia were killed in a plane crash.
Royden Jr. had been working at the plant since graduating from
"In about 1993, Royden called us (Beth and Susan) and said that
the rest of the family needed to participate more and he needed some
help that the company was growing faster than we had thought," Beth
said. "So I felt by then that I had something to contribute and
Although the art of making crystals is more precise and
sophisticated than it was right after World War II, the process is
still the same. …