Here the flashback ends and xerography, as such, comes intobeing. By 1946, Battelle’s work on the Carlson process hadcome to the attention of various people at Haloid, among themthe younger Joseph C. Wilson, who was about to assume thepresidency of the company. Wilson communicated his interest toa new friend of his—Sol M. Linowitz, a bright and vigorouslypublic-spirited young lawyer, recently back from service in theNavy, who was then busy organizing a new Rochester radiostation that would air liberal views as a counterbalance to theconservative views of the Gannett newspapers. Although Haloidhad its own lawyers, Wilson, impressed with Linowitz, askedhim to look into the Battelle thing as a “one-shot” job for thecompany. “We went to Columbus to see a piece of metalrubbed with cat’s fur,” Linowitz has since said. Out of that tripand others came an agreement giving Haloid rights to theCarlson process in exchange for royalties to Carlson andBattelle, and committing it to share with Battelle in the workand the costs of development. Everything else, it seemed, flowedfrom that agreement. In 1948, in search of a new name forthe Carlson process, a Battelle man got together with aprofessor of classical languages at Ohio State University, and bycombining two words from classical Greek they came up with“xerography,” or “dry writing.” Meanwhile, small teams ofscientists at Battelle and Haloid, struggling to develop theprocess, were encountering baffling and unexpected technicalproblems one after another; at one point, indeed, the Haloidpeople became so discouraged that they considered selling mostof their xerography rights to International Business Machines.
But the deal was finally called off, and as the research went onand the bills for it mounted, Haloid’s commitment to theprocess gradually became a do-or-die affair. In 1955, a newagreement was drawn up, under which Haloid took over fulltitle to the Carlson patents and the full cost of the developmentproject, in payment for which it issued huge bundles of Haloidshares to Battelle, which, in turn, issued a bundle or two toCarlson. The cost was staggering. Between 1947 and 1960,Haloid spent about seventy-five million dollars on research inxerography, or about twice what it earned from its regularoperations during that period; the balance was raised throughborrowing and through the wholesale issuance of commonstock to anyone who was kind, reckless, or prescient enough totake it. The University of Rochester, partly out of interest in astruggling local industry, bought an enormous quantity for itsendowment fund at a price that subsequently, because of stocksplits, amounted to fifty cents a share. “Please don’t be mad atus if we find we have to sell our Haloid stock in a couple ofyears to cut our losses on it,” a university official nervouslywarned Wilson. Wilson promised not to be mad. Meanwhile, heand other executives of the company took most of their pay inthe form of stock, and some of them went as far as to put uptheir savings and the mortgages on their houses to help thecause along. (Prominent among the executives by this time wasLinowitz, whose association with Haloid had turned out to beanything but a one-shot thing; instead, he became Wilson’sright-hand man, taking charge of the company’s crucial patentarrangements, organizing and guiding its international affiliations,and eventually serving for a time as chairman of its board ofdirectors.) In 1958, after prayerful consideration, the company’sname was changed to Haloid Xerox, even though noxerographic product of major importance was yet on themarket. The trademark “XeroX” had been adopted by Haloidseveral years earlier—a shameless imitation of Eastman’s“Kodak,” as Wilson has admitted. The terminal “X” soon had tobe downgraded to lower case, because it was found thatnobody would bother to capitalize it, but the near-palindrome,at least as irresistible 长沙桑拿会所 as Eastman’s, remained. XeroX or Xerox,the trademark, Wilson has said, was adopted and retainedagainst the vehement advice of many of the firm’s consultants,who feared that the public would find it unpronounceable, orwould think it denoted an anti-freeze, or would be put in mindof a word highly discouraging to financial ears—“zero.”
Then, in 1960, the explosion came, and suddenly everythingwas reversed. Instead of worrying about whether its tradename would be successful, the company was worrying about itsbecoming too successful, for the new verb “to xerox” began toappear so frequently in conversation and in print that thecompany’s proprietary rights in the name were threatened, andit had to embark on an elaborate campaign against such usage.
(In 1961, the company went the whole hog and changed itsname to plain Xerox Corporation.) 长沙桑拿论坛网 And instead of worryingabout the future of themselves and their families, the Xeroxexecutives were worrying about their reputation with the friendsand relatives whom they had prudently advised not to invest inthe stock at twenty cents a share. In a word, everybody whoheld Xerox stock in quantity had got rich or richer—theexecutives who had scrimped and sacrificed, the University ofRochester, Battelle Memorial Institute, and even, of all people,Chester F. Carlson, who had come out of the variousagreements with Xerox stock that at 1968 prices was worthmany million dollars, putting him (according to Fortune)among the sixty-six richest people in the country.
THUS baldly outlined, the story of Xerox has an old-fashioned,even a nineteenth-century, ring—the lonely inventor in his crudelaboratory, the small, family-oriented 长沙桑拿都有什么 company, the initialsetbacks, the reliance on the patent system, the resort toclassical Greek for a trade name, the eventual triumphgloriously vindicating the free-enterprise system. But there isanother dimension to Xerox. In the matter of demonstrating asense of responsibility to society as a whole, rather than just toits stockholders, employees, and customers, it has shown itselfto be the reverse of most nineteenth-century companies—to be,indeed, in the advance guard of twentieth-century companies.
“To set high goals, to have almost unattainable aspirations, toimbue people with the belief that they can be achieved—theseare as important as the balance sheet, perhaps more so,”
Wilson said once, and other Xerox executives have often goneout of their way to emphasize that “the Xerox spirit” is not somuch a means to an end as a matter of emphasizing “humanvalues” for their own sake. 长沙桑拿论坛社区 Such platform rhetoric is far fromuncommon in big-business circles, of course, and when itcomes from Xerox executives it is just as apt to arouseskepticism—or even, considering the company’s huge profits,irritation. But there is evidence that Xerox means what it says.
In 1965, the company donated $1,632,548 to educational andcharitable institutions, and $2,246,000 in 1966; both years thebiggest recipients were the University of Rochester and theRochester Community Chest, and in each case the sumrepresented around one and a half per cent of the company’snet income before taxes. This is markedly higher than thepercentage that most large companies set aside for good works;to take a couple of examples from among those often cited fortheir liberality, R.C.A.’s contributions for 1965 amounted toabout seven-tenths of one per cent of pre-tax income, andAmerican Telephone & Telegraph’s 长沙桑拿微信号 to considerably less thanone per cent. That Xerox intended to persist in its high-mindedways was indicated by its commitment of itself in 1966 to the“one-per-cent program,” often called the Cleveland Plan—asystem inaugurated in that city under which local industriesagree to give one per cent of pre-tax income annually to localeducational institutions, apart from their other donations—so thatif Xerox income continues to soar, the University of Rochesterand its sister institutions in the area can face the future with acertain assurance.
In other matters, too, Xerox has taken risks for reasons thathave nothing to do with profit. In a 1964 speech, Wilson said,“The corporation cannot refuse to take a stand on public issuesof major concern”—a piece of business heresy if there ever wasone, since taking a stand on a public issue is the obvious wayof alienating customers and potential customers who take theopposite stand. The chief public 长沙桑拿最好场子推荐 stand that Xerox has taken isin favor of the United Nations—and, by implication, against itsdetractors. Early in 1964, the company decided to spend fourmillion dollars—a year’s advertising budget—on underwriting aseries of network-television programs dealing with the U.N., theprograms to be unaccompanied by commercials or any otheridentification of Xerox apart from a statement at the beginningand end of each that Xerox had paid for it. That July andAugust—some three months after the decision had beenannounced—Xerox suddenly received an avalanche of lettersopposing the project and urging the company to abandon it.
Numbering almost fifteen thousand, the letters ranged in tonefrom sweet reasonableness to strident and emotionaldenunciation. Many of them asserted that the U.N. was aninstrument for depriving Americans of their Constitutional rights,that its charter had been written in part by AmericanCommunists, and that it was constantly being used to furtherCommunist objectives, and a few letters, from companypresidents, bluntly 长沙桑拿会所推荐 threatened to remove the Xerox machinesfrom their offices unless the series was cancelled. Only ahandful of the letter writers mentioned the John Birch Society,and none identified themselves as members of it, butcircumstantial evidence suggested that the avalanche representeda carefully planned Birch campaign. For one thing, a recentBirch Society publication had urged that members write toXerox to protest the U.N. 长沙桑拿洗浴会所排名 series, pointing out that a flood ofletters had succeeded in persuading a major airline to removethe U.N. insigne from its airplanes. Further evidence of asystematic campaign turned up when an analysis, made atXerox’s instigation, showed that the fifteen thousand letters hadbeen written by only about four thousand persons. In anyevent, the Xerox offices and directors declined to be persuadedor intimidated; the U.N. series appeared on the AmericanBroadcasting Company network in 1965, to plaudits all around.
Wilson later maintained that the series—and the decision toignore the protest against it—made Xerox many more friendsthan enemies. In all his public statements on the subject, heinsisted on characterizing what many observers considered arather rare stroke of business idealism, as simply soundbusiness judgment.
In the fall of 1966, Xerox began encountering a measure ofadversity for the first time since its introduction of xerography.
By that time, there were more than forty companies in theoffice copier business, many of them producing xerographicdevices under license from Xerox. (The only important part ofits technology for which Xerox had refused to grant a licensewas a selenium drum that enables its own machines to makecopies on ordinary paper. All competing products still requiredtreated paper.) The great advantage that Xerox had beenenjoying was the one that the first to enter a new field alwaysenjoys—the advantage of charging high prices. Now, asBarron’s pointed out in August, it appeared that “thisonce-fabulous invention may—as all technological advancesinevitably must—soon evolve into an accepted commonplace.”
Cut-rate latecomers were swarming into copying; one company,in a letter sent to its stockholders in May, foresaw a time whena copier selling for ten or twenty dollars could be marketed “asa toy” (one was actually marketed for about thirty dollars in1968) and there was even talk of the day when copiers wouldbe given away to promote sales of paper, the way razors havelong given away to promote razor blades. For some years,realizing that its cozy little monopoly would eventually pass intothe public domain, Xerox had been widening its intereststhrough mergers with companies in other fields, mainlypublishing and education; for example, in 1962 it had boughtUniversity Microfilms, a library on microfilm of unpublishedmanuscripts, out-of-print books, doctoral dissertations, periodicals,and newspapers, and in 1965 it had tacked on two othercompanies—American Education Publications, the country’slargest publisher of educational periodicals for primary- andsecondary-school students, and Basic Systems, a manufacturerof teaching machines. But these moves failed to reassure thatdogmatic critic the marketplace, and Xerox stock ran into aspell of heavy weather. Between late June, 1966, when it stoodat 267?, and early October, when it dipped to 131?, themarket value of the company was more than cut in half. Inthe single business week of October 3rd through October 7th,Xerox dropped 42? points, and on one particularly alarmingday—October 6th—trading in Xerox on the New York StockExchange had to be suspended for five hours because therewere about twenty-five million dollars’ worth of shares on salethat no one wanted to buy.
I find that companies are inclined to be at their mostinteresting when they are undergoing a little misfortune, andtherefore I chose the fall of 1966 as the time to have a look atXerox and its people—something I’d had in mind to do for ayear or so. I started out by getting acquainted with one of itsproducts. The Xerox line of copiers and related items was bythen a comprehensive one. There was, for instance, the 914, adesksize machine that makes black-and-white copies of almostany page—printed, handwritten, typed, or drawn, but notexceeding nine by fourteen inches in size—at a rate of aboutone copy every six seconds; the 813, a much smaller device,which can stand on top of a desk and is essentially aminiaturized version of the 914 (or, as Xerox technicians like tosay, “a 914 with the air left out”); the 2400, a high-speedreproduction machine that looks like a modern kitchen stoveand can cook up copies at a rate of forty a minute, ortwenty-four hundred an hour; the Copyflo, which is capable ofenlarging microfilmed pages into ordinary booksize pages andprinting them; the LDX, by which documents can betransmitted over telephone wires, microwave radio, or coaxialcable; and the Telecopier, a non-xerographic device, designedand manufactured by Magnavox but sold by Xerox, which is asort of junior version of the LDX and is especially interestingto a layman because it consists simply of a small box that,when attached to an ordinary telephone, permits the user torapidly transmit a small picture (with a good deal of squeakingand clicking, to be sure) to anyone equipped with a telephoneand a similar small box. Of all these, the 914, the firstautomatic xerographic product and the one that constituted thebig breakthrough, was still much the most important both toXerox and to its customers.
It has been suggested that the 914 is the most successfulcommercial product in history, but the statement cannot beauthoritatively confirmed or denied, if only because Xerox doesnot publish precise revenue figures on its individual products;the company does say, though, that in 1965 the 914 accountedfor about sixty-two per cent of its total operating revenues,which works out to something over $243,000,000. In 1966 itcould be bought for $27,500, or it could be rented fortwenty-five dollars monthly, plus at least forty-nine dollars’ worthof copies at four cents each. These charges were deliberatelyset up to make renting more attractive than buying, becauseXerox ultimately makes more money that way. The 914, whichis painted beige and weighs six hundred and fifty pounds, looksa good deal like a modern L-shaped metal desk; the thing tobe copied—a flat page, two pages of an open book, or even asmall three-dimensional object like a watch or a medal—isplaced face down on a glass window in the flat top surface, abutton is pushed, and nine seconds later the copy pops into atray where an “out” basket might be if the 914 actually were adesk. Technologically, the 914 is so complex (more complex,some Xerox salesmen insist, than an automobile) that it has anannoying tendency to go wrong, and consequently Xeroxmaintains a field staff of thousands of repairmen who arepresumably ready to answer a call on short notice. The mostcommon malfunction is a jamming of the supply of copy paper,which is rather picturesquely called a “mispuff,” because eachsheet of paper is raised into position to be inscribed by aninterior puff of air, and the malfunction occurs when the puffgoes wrong. A bad mispuff can occasionally put a piece of thepaper in contact with hot parts, igniting it and causing analarming cloud of white smoke to issue from the machine; insuch a case the operator is urged to do nothing, or, at most,to use a small fire extinguisher that is attached to it, since thefire burns itself out comparatively harmlessly if left alone,whereas a bucket of water thrown over a 914 may conveypotentially lethal voltages to its metal surface. Apart frommalfunctions, the machine requires a good deal of regularattention from its operator, who is almost invariably a woman.
(The girls who operated the earliest typewriters were themselvescalled “typewriters,” but fortunately nobody calls Xerox operators“xeroxes.”) Its supply of copying paper and black electrostaticpowder, called “toner,” must be replenished regularly, while itsmost crucial part, the selenium drum, must be cleaned regularlywith a special non-scratchy cotton, and waxed every so often. Ispent a couple of afternoons with one 914 and its operator,and observed what seemed to be the closest relationshipbetween a woman and a piece of office equipment that I hadever seen. A girl who uses a typewriter or switchboard has nointerest in the equipment, because it holds no mystery, whileone who operates a computer is bored with it, because it isutterly incomprehensible. But a 914 has distinct animal traits: ithas to be fed and curried; it is intimidating but can be tamed;it is subject to unpredictable bursts of misbehavior; and,generally speaking, it responds in kind to its treatment. “I wasfrightened of it at first,” the operator I watched told me. “TheXerox men say, ‘If you’re frightened of it, it won’t work,’ andthat’s pretty much right. It’s a good scout; I’m fond of it now.”
Xerox salesmen, I learned from talks with some of them, areforever trying to think of new uses for the company’s copiers,but they have found again and again that the public is wellahead of them. One rather odd use of xerography insures thatbrides get the wedding presents they want. The prospectivebride submits her list of preferred presents to a departmentstore; the store sends the list to its bridal-registry counter,which is equipped with a Xerox copier; each friend of thebride, having been tactfully briefed in advance, comes to thiscounter and is issued a copy of the list, whereupon he doeshis shopping and then returns the copy with the purchaseditems checked off, so that the master list may be revised andthus ready for the next donor. (“Hymen, i? Hymen, Hymen!”)Again, police departments in New Orleans and various otherplaces, instead of laboriously typing up a receipt for theproperty removed from people who spend the night in thelockup, now place the property itself—wallet, watch, keys, andsuch—on the scanning glass of a 914, and in a few secondshave a sort of pictographic receipt. Hospitals use xerography tocopy electrocardiograms and laboratory reports, and brokeragefirms to get hot tips to customers more quickly. In fact,anybody with any sort of idea that might be advanced bycopying can go to one of the many cigar or stationery storesthat have a coin-operated copier and indulge himself. (It isinteresting to note that Xerox took to producing coin-operated914s in two configurations—one that works for a dime and onethat works for a quarter; the buyer or leaser of the machinecould decide which he wanted to charge.)Copying has its abuses, too, and they are clearly serious. Themost obvious one is overcopying. A tendency formerly identifiedwith bureaucrats has been spreading—the urge to make two ormore copies when one would do, and to make one when nonewould do; the phrase “in triplicate,” once used to denotebureaucratic waste, has become a gross understatement. Thebutton waiting to be pushed, the whir of action, the neatreproduction dropping into the tray—all this adds up to aheady experience, and the neophyte operator of a copier feelsan impulse to copy all the papers in his pockets. And onceone has used a copier, one tends to be hooked. Perhaps thechief danger of this addiction is not so much the cluttering upof files and loss of important material through submersion as itis the insidious growth of a negative attitude toward originals—afeeling that nothing can be of importance unless it is copied, oris a copy itself.
A more immediate problem of xerography is the overwhelmingtemptation it offers to violate the copyright laws. Almost all largepublic and college libraries—and many high-school libraries aswell—are now equipped with copying machines, and teachersand students in need of a few copies of a group of poemsfrom a published book, a certain short story from ananthology, or a certain article from a scholarly journal havedeveloped the habit of simply plucking it from the library’sshelves, taking it to the library’s reproduction department, andhaving the required number of Xerox copies made. The effect,of course, is to deprive the author and the publisher of income.
There are no legal records of such infringements of copyright,since publishers and authors almost never sue educators, if onlybecause they don’t know that the infringements have occurred;furthermore, the educators themselves often have no idea thatthey have done anything illegal. The likelihood that manycopyrights have already been infringed unknowingly throughxerography became indirectly apparent a few years ago when acommittee of educators sent a circular to teachers from coastto coast informing them explicitly what rights to reproducecopyrighted material they did and did not have, and the almostinstant sequel was a marked rise in the number of requestsfrom educators to publishers for permissions. And there wasmore concrete evidence of the way things were going; forexample, in 1965 a staff member of the library school of theUniversity of New Mexico publicly advocated that libraries spendninety per cent of their budgets on staff, telephones, copying,telefacsimiles, and the like, and only ten per cent—a sort oftithe—on books and journals.
To a certain extent, libraries attempt to police copying on theirown. The photographic service of the New York Public Library’smain branch, which fills some fifteen hundred requests a weekfor copies of library matter, informs patrons that “copyrightedmaterial will not be reproduced beyond ‘fair use’”—that is, theamount and kind of reproduction, generally confined to briefexcerpts, that have been established by legal precedent as notconstituting infringement. The library goes on, “The applicantassumes all responsibility for any question that may arise in themaking of the copy and in the use made thereof.” In the firstpart of its statement the library seems to assume theresponsibility and in the second part to renounce it, and thisambivalence may reflect an uneasiness widely felt among usersof library copiers. Outside library walls, there often does notseem to be even this degree of scruple. Business people whoare otherwise meticulous in their observance of the law seem toregard copyright infringement about as seriously as they regardjaywalking. A writer I’ve heard about was invited to a seminarof high-level and high-minded industrial leaders and was startledto find that a chapter from his most recent book had beencopied and distributed to the participants, to serve as a basisfor discussion. When the writer protested, the businessmenwere taken aback, and even injured; they had thought thewriter would be pleased by their attention to his work, but theflattery, after all, was of the sort shown by a thief whocommends a lady’s jewelry by making off with it.
In the opinion of some commentators, what has happened sofar is only the first phase of a kind of revolution in graphics.
“Xerography is bringing a reign of terror into the world ofpublishing, because it means that every reader can becomeboth author and publisher,” the Canadian sage MarshallMcLuhan wrote in the spring, 1966, issue of the AmericanScholar. “Authorship and readership alike can becomeproduction-oriented under xerography.… Xerography is electricityinvading the world of typography, and it means a totalrevolution in this old sphere.” Even allowing for McLuhan’serratic ebullience (“I change my opinions daily,” he onceconfessed), he seems to have got his teeth into something here.
Various magazine articles have predicted nothing less than thedisappearance of the book as it now exists, and pictured thelibrary of the future as a sort of monster computer capable ofstoring and retrieving the contents of books electronically andxerographically. The “books” in such a library would be tinychips of computer film—“editions of one.” Everyone agrees thatsuch a library is still some time away. (But not so far away asto preclude a wary reaction from forehanded publishers.
Beginning late in 1966, the long-familiar “all rights reserved”
rigmarole on the copyright page of all books published byHarcourt, Brace & World was altered to read, a bit spookily,“All rights reserved. No part of this publication may bereproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or anyinformation storage and retrieval system …” Other publishersquickly followed the example.) One of the nearest approaches toit in the late sixties was the Xerox subsidiary UniversityMicrofilms, which could, and did, enlarge its microfilms ofout-of-print books and print them as attractive and highlylegible paperback volumes, at a cost to the customer of fourcents a page; in cases where the book was covered bycopyright, the firm paid a royalty to the author on each copyproduced. But the time when almost anyone can make his owncopy of a published book at lower than the market price is notsome years away; it is now. All that the amateur publisherneeds is access to a Xerox machine and a small offset printingpress. One of the lesser but still important attributes ofxerography is its ability to make master copies for use onoffset presses, and make them much more cheaply and quicklythan was previously possible. According to Irwin Karp, counselto the Authors League of America, an edition of fifty copies ofany printed book could in 1967 be handsomely “published”
(minus the binding) by this combination of technologies in amatter of minutes at a cost of about eight-tenths of a cent perpage, and less than that if the edition was larger. A teacherwishing to distribute to a class of fifty students the contents ofa sixty-four-page book of poetry selling for three dollars andseventy-five cents could do so, if he were disposed to ignorethe copyright laws, at a cost of slightly over fifty cents percopy.
The danger in the new technology, authors and publishershave contended, is that in doing away with the book it may doaway with them, and thus with writing itself. Herbert S. Bailey,Jr., director of Princeton University Press, wrote in theSaturday Review of a scholar friend of his who has cancelledall his subscriptions to scholarly journals; instead, he now scanstheir tables of contents at his public library and makes copiesof the articles that interest him. Bailey commented, “If allscholars followed [this] practice, there would be no scholarlyjournals.” Beginning in the middle sixties, Congress has beenconsidering a revision of the copyright laws—the first since1909


. At the hearings, a committee representing the NationalEducation Association and a clutch of other education groupsargued firmly and persuasively that if education is to keep upwith our national growth, the present copyright law and thefair-use doctrine should be liberalized for scholastic purposes.
The authors and publishers, not surprisingly, opposed suchliberalization, insisting that any extension of existing rights wouldtend to deprive them of their livelihoods to some degree now,and to a far greater degree in the uncharted xerographicfuture. A bill that was approved in 1967 by the HouseJudiciary Committee seemed to represent a victory for them,since it explicitly set forth the fair-use doctrine and containedno educational-copying exemption. But the final outcome of thestruggle was still uncertain late in 1968. McLuhan,


for one, wasconvinced that all efforts to preserve the old forms of authorprotection represent backward thinking and are doomed tofailure (or, anyway, he was convinced the day he wrote hisAmerican Scholar article). “There is no possible protection fromtechnology except by technology,” he wrote. “When you createa new environment with one phase of technology, you have tocreate an anti-environment with the next.” But authors areseldom good at technology, and probably do not flourish inanti-environments.
In dealing with this Pandora’s box that Xerox products haveopened, the company seems to have measured up tolerablywell to its lofty ideals as set forth by Wilson. Although it has acommercial interest in encouraging—or, at least, not discouraging—more and more copying of just about anything thatcan be read, it makes more than a token effort to inform theusers of its machines of their legal responsibilities; for example,each new machine that is shipped out is accompanied by acardboard poster giving a long list of things that may not becopied, among them paper money, government bonds, postagestamps, passports, and “copyrighted material of any manner orkind without permission of the copyright owner.” (How many ofthese posters end up in wastebaskets is another matter.)Moreover, caught in the middle between the contending factionsin the fight over revision of copyright law, it resisted thetemptation to stand piously aside while raking in the profits,and showed an exemplary sense of social responsibility—at leastfrom the point of view of the authors and publishers. Thecopying industry in general, by contrast, tended either toremain neutral or to lean to the educators’ side. At a 1963symposium on copyright revision, an industry spokesman wentas far as to argue that machine copying by a scholar is merelya convenient extension of hand copying, which has traditionallybeen accepted as legitimate. But not Xerox. Instead, inSeptember, 1965, Wilson wrote to the House JudiciaryCommittee flatly opposing any kind of special copying exemptionin any new law. Of course, in evaluating this seemingly quixoticstand one ought to remember that Xerox is a publishing firmas well as a copying-machine firm; indeed, what with AmericanEducation Publications and University Microfilms, it is one of thelargest publishing firms in the country. Conventional publishers,I gathered from my researches, sometimes find it a bitbewildering to be confronted by this futuristic giant not merelyas an alien threat to their familiar world but as an energeticcolleague and competitor within it.
HAVING had a look at some Xerox products and devoted somethought to the social implications of their use, I went toRochester to scrape up a first-hand acquaintance with thecompany and to get an idea how its people were reacting totheir problems, material and moral. At the time I went, thematerial problems certainly seemed to be to the fore, since theweek of the forty-two-and-a-half-point stock drop was not longpast. On the plane en route, I had before me a copy ofXerox’s most recent proxy statement, which listed the numberof Xerox shares held by each director as of February, 1966,and I amused myself by calculating some of the directors’
paper losses in that one bad October week, assuming that theyhad held on to their stock. Chairman Wilson, for example, hadheld 154,026 common shares in February, so his loss wouldhave been $6,546,105. Linowitz’s holding was 35,166 shares, fora loss of $1,494,555. Dr. John H. Dessauer, executivevice-president in charge of research, had held 73,845 sharesand was therefore presumably out $3,138,412.50. Such sumscould hardly be considered trivial even by Xerox executives.
Would I, then, find their premises pervaded by gloom, or atleast by signs of shock?
The Xerox executive offices were on the upper floors ofRochester’s Midtown Tower, the ground level of which isoccupied by Midtown Plaza, an indoor shopping mall. (Laterthat year, the company moved its headquarters across thestreet to Xerox Square, a complex that includes a thirty-storyoffice building, an auditorium for civic as well as company use,and a sunken ice rink.) Before going up to the Xerox offices, Itook a turn or two around the mall, and found it to beequipped with all kinds of shops, a café, kiosks, pools, trees,and benches that—in spite of an oppressively bland and affluentatmosphere, created mainly, I suspect, by bland piped-inmusic—were occupied in part by bums, just like the benches inoutdoor malls. The trees had a tendency to languish for lack oflight and air, but the bums looked O.K. Having ascended byelevator, I met a Xerox public-relations man with whom I hadan appointment, and immediately asked him how the companyhad reacted to the stock drop. “Oh, nobody takes it tooseriously,” he replied. “You hear a lot of lighthearted talk aboutit at the golf clubs. One fellow will say to another, ‘You buythe drinks—I dropped another eighty thousand dollars on Xeroxyesterday.’ Joe Wilson did find it a bit traumatic that day theyhad to suspend trading on the Stock Exchange, but otherwisehe took it in stride. In fact, at a party the other day when thestock was way down and a lot of people were clusteringaround him asking him what it all meant, I heard him say,‘Well, you know, it’s very rarely that opportunity knocks twice.’
As for the office, you scarcely hear the subject mentioned atall.” As a matter of fact, I scarcely did hear it mentioned againwhile I was at Xerox, and this sang-froid turned out to bejustified, because within a little more than a month the stockhad made up its entire loss, and within a few more months ithad moved up to an all-time high.
I spent the rest of that morning calling on three scientific andtechnical Xerox men and listening to nostalgic tales of the earlyyears of xerographic development. The first of these men wasDr. Dessauer, the previous week’s three-million-dollar loser,whom I nevertheless found looking tranquil—as I guess I shouldhave expected, in view of the fact that his Xerox stock was stillpresumably worth more than nine and a half million dollars. (Afew months later it was presumably worth not quite twentymillion.) Dr. Dessauer, a German-born veteran of the companywho had been in charge of its research and engineering eversince 1938 and was then also vice-chairman of its board, wasthe man who first brought Carlson’s invention to the attentionof Joseph Wilson, after he had read an article about it in atechnical journal in 1945. Stuck up on his office wall, I noticed,was a greeting card from members of his office staff in whichhe was hailed as the “Wizard,” and I found him to be asmiling, youthful-looking man with just enough of an accent topass muster for wizardry.