Word Processing is a term which most people understand today, but fifty years ago there was only one voice using it, a young typewriter salesman who was working for IBM Germany. Ulrich Steinhilper had the idea to use Textverarbeitung (Word Processing), a new concept, so that office products could be marketed in the same way that Data Processing equipment was sold by IBM. It was not as we might recognise it today; it was more a holistic approach to the diverse skills which are needed to improve office efficiency and to bring streamlined factory production line techniques to the office. Fortunately he submitted his thoughts as a Staff Suggestion and was duly paid 25 German Marks for his trouble, but he had registered it and had proof of it. When others tried to claim that it was they who had first conceived the name ‘Word Processing’ Ulrich fought for recognition and, finally, IBM committed it to paper and sent him on a trip around the world in recognition of his work.
Over and above being the story of the evolution of Word Processing, ‘Don’t Talk - Do It!’ is a fascinating record of the development of post-war business. It is also an intriguing illustration of how one man made his contribution in the true pioneering spirit, helping Germany rise from the ruins of World War II to one of the world’s most successful industrial nations.
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