Affectionally known as "LOLs," those women came from Waltham's textile mills and watch factory.
"There was a big watch industry in Waltham back in the '40s and '50s," Poundstone said. "When that kind of collapsed, electronics came along and a lot of the ladies that had been assembling watches came over into the electronics world."
Manufacturing the core ropes could be tedious. Two women sat on either side of a rack containing a number of small doughnut-shaped magnets. The women would pass the wire back and forth through holes indicated by a computer-controlled guide.
"Every bit had to be sewn with a needle and a thread-like wire through these little magnetic cores," said Mindell. "There were all these women sitting at these stations threading the needles, sewing the software bit, by bit, by bit, into the cores and they had to do it with 100 percent accuracy with thousands and thousands of different bits."