1959 is not just the past, it is of a different era. 1959 is the Post-War years, and we’re not in those anymore. The past few (ten?) years have been the first little bit of the next era, the one with the internet. Younger Enthusiast, you wouldn’t believe how different it was: there was something called Missile Mail, which is precisely what it sounds like. The Navy tried it, and mostly succeeded, but mostly is an unwelcome adverb in a sentence about missiles. The project was terminated on the grounds of being “unfeasible” and “batshit insane.” But those folks in 1959, in the Post-War years, they believed in the power of technology. That it would save them, and not just create entirely new problems.
Good thing we’re smarter than them.
The very first Xerox machine was introduced in ’59. If you wanted something copied before that, then you needed a typewriter. If you wanted something copied way before that, you needed a monk. And if you wanted to make a whole lot of copies, then you needed a mimeograph machine. Revolutionaries loved mimeograph machines: they’re personal printing presses. Typewriter attached to a stencil; stencil gets washed in ink in a giant barrel against paper; paper comes out with propaganda or advertisements or math tests. There was, Younger Enthusiast, a mimeograph machine in every school in America, and all of your elders right now are smelling that faint, fruity aroma that rose from the dittos–once printed, the paper became called a “ditto”–that were waxy and wanted to roll into a scroll if the teacher had not let the stack sit under a heavy weight for an hour or two. Sometimes you would get them fresh; they would be still warm and you could smear the blue ink if you were not careful.
By the time I got to high school, the ditto machine had been scrapped, and the teachers got into fistfights over the copier, instead. This is the nature of change.
People also put lions on their teevees in 1959.