MT. KISCO, NY-A U. S. manufacturer that traces its birth as a family enterprise back to the invention of the crystal radio has begun a celebration of its 90th year in business. Zierick Manufacturing Corp., manufacturer of connectors and other stamped metal components for the electronics industry, started as a parts fabricator for early radio sets called “cat’s whisker” receivers.

In 1919, Fred Zierick and his family made the first set of mounting “tangs” for cat’s whisker radio receivers, so-named because of the very thin wire that lightly touches a natural, mineral semiconducting crystal to detect AM radio broadcasting signals. Zierick’s mounting tangs provided convenient anchoring and electronic connection points for the galena crystals with which scientists and enthusiasts could detect early AM radio signals just as the embryonic radio broadcasting industry was beginning to grow.

In its manufacturing operations, Zierick Manufacturing was among the early adopters of extremely precise electrical discharge machining systems to meet the exacting specifications and close tolerances for which the company is known.

With the invention of printed circuit board technology in the early 1940s, Zierick used its experience to develop and sell connection components as well as equipment allowing fast, accurate mounting of electronic parts to PCBs and quick connections from one circuit board to another.

Recently, thousands of Zierick electronic connectors, so small that 10 could fit on the head of a penny, assured the spectacular performance of New York City’s new, energy-efficient, 100th Anniversary Times Square ball.

The company was recently named the recipient of the Higgins-Caditz Award presented by the Precision Metalforming Association in its annual Awards of Excellence in Metalforming competition. This honor provided global recognition of Zierick’s unique and innovative new Surface Mount Insulation Piercing Crimp Terminal and the tools that quickly and easily terminate a wire to Surface Mount printed circuit boards. As with many Zierick innovations, this new system features unique advantages including reduced production costs, improved reliability and faster processing speeds.