E-beam direct write...Long time coming!:
I visited Bill Livesay at E-Beam Microfabrication (EBM) on Miramar Rd in San Diego in 1978, who was a pioneer in e-beam direct write; Howard Bogert published a newsletter in about 1980 for Dataquest, entitled, "E-Beam is Economic for Mask-Making". Maybe only the hard stop now faced by optical litho pushes e-beam to the forefront...or maybe not.
We always have a way of extending the lifetime of 'inertial' technologies more than we ever imagined was possible.