C. B. Chrystal was founded in 1897 by Charles B. Chrystal.
Charles never completed high school, rather he went to work as a young man in New York City. He apprenticed selling talc crayons, solid pieces sawn from solid talc rocks, to welding shops in New York City. In 1897, Charles took what he had learned, and opened up his own business, aptly named C. B. Chrystal. Initially he sold talc crayons and soon expanded into a range of naturally occurring minerals. With an office located in downtown Manhattan on Hudson Street, he was primarily catering to the New York City and New Jersey markets. A few years later in the1900’s, Charles began importing a wider range of products, including powder talc and pumice. He travelled to Europe twice a year for extended trips, sourcing the highest-grade materials and expanding trade relations. Most notable was his contract with Talc de Luzenac, a French producer of talc based in the Pyrenees mountains. In these commercial agreements, the expectation was to sell talc throughout the entire United States. Thus, early on the focus changed from local markets to national markets
The first half of the century was a turbulent one. In the early 20’s, C.B. Chrystal opened a full operation warehouse in Jersey City, New Jersey. While WWI disrupted imports, C.B. Chrystal continued to operate, supporting manufacturing during wartime. The Great Depression had a significant impact on business, but C.B. Chrystal persevered and endured, growing to be stronger than ever a few years after the Depression ended. The Second World War offered new opportunities, and spring-boarded the company into its next phase. With all imports from Europe ceased during wartime, C.B. Chrystal began sourcing minerals domestically, building a domestic network of vendors to supply minerals. As new relations were built in the home front, so too expanded the range of materials C.B. Chrystal was able to offer its customers. In the 50’s, C.B. Chrystal regained its imports supply lines, and expanded into the export markets: namely, Central and South America, and Europe. In the early 1970 the company began importing talc from Brazil. The company’s focus had changed to international markets.
In 1975 Peter Schnur—husband of Margot Chrystal, the granddaughter of Charles B. Chrystal—joined C.B. Chrystal and became President of the company in 1982. In the 1980s there was a shift of transportation away from rail, and C.B. Chrystal’s Jersey City warehouse became outmoded. As more and more long-distance trucks began delivering minerals from mines directly to the New York, Chrystal divested its warehouse in favor of multiple public warehouses. In the late 1980’s, C.B. Chrystal again expanded its supplier network to include talc sourced from China, making C.B. Chrystal a truly global company with a presence on four continents.
C.B. Chrystal’s centralized operations remained in downtown NYC. In 2001 on the September 11th attacks Chrystal’s offices were directly across the street from the World Trade Center. Amazingly, the building sustained little damage. After 6 months in a very small Midtown office, the company moved back across the street from Ground Zero. The technological boom at the start of the 21st Century created a new business platform, especially via the internet, that allowed C.B. Chrystal to implement efficient operations outside the city. The company restructured, moving the corporate office to Westchester County, New York while maintaining numerous warehouses and distribution points globally.
As Peter Schnur’s stewardship of C.B. Chrystal was approaching its end, the family decision was divestiture of non-essential mineral lines. In 2019 he imparted stewardship of the company over to the Prybyla family. Bo and Max Prybyla currently manage C.B. Chrystal from Connecticut, and maintain third-party warehouses, and domestic and foreign vendors.
Celebrating a history of 123 years, Charles B. Chrystal Co. Inc. prides itself with a commitment to our customers. Our roots started in 1987 selling talcum chalk sticks, and to this day we are focused on providing the highest-grade talc powder, with world-class customer service on a global level. We source products from respectable manufacturers, tested for refined quality, consistency, and performance to meet various end-product applications for our customers.