What a fantastic read.
In a story reminiscent of the dot-com boom that would come forty years later, Brooks describes the meteoric and explosive rise of xerography in the American officeplace, and the group of inventors who re-mortgaged their houses and crowded into a workshop whose roof leaked tar on hot days to create the first office copier that could print on normal, untreated paper.
Two sections stood out as particularly spectacular, though the piece is fascinating throughout. (Note that Brooks is writing in the 60s about businesses that were operating in the sixties, and that his depictions of what would today be stunning sexism and racism were entirely the norm contemporarily.)
Apart from malfunctions, the machine requires a
good deal of regular attention from its operator, who is almost invariably a woman. (The girls who operated the