Industry: Living with Giants

Most small U.S. companies live with the uneasy knowledge that at any moment their traditional markets may be snatched away by an advanced new product developed in the research laboratories of some corporate giant. Ten years ago this nightmare came true for Brooklyn's Old Town Corp. A modestly successful manufacturer of carbon paper, typewriter ribbons and duplicating products, Old Town suddenly found its bigger competitors selling radically improved typewriter ribbons and speedy office photocopy machines that sharply reduced the demand for carbon paper. Helplessly the firm watched its business slip, until in 1960 it lost $289,000 on sales of...

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