HDD Scematics

The History of Storage Mediums

Into the early 1900s

Since the beginning of time, people have made an effort to transcribe history. Originally through the use of cave drawings, people scribbled pictures of their lives before the development of the first language. Eventually, people wished to transport their histories with them, and along came the use of clay tablets, papyrus and paper. Printing was invented in 1440, and was a great milestone in the history of storage. It wasn't for another 300 years that the mediums for storage turned to the age of computing with the invention of punch cards. In the early 20th century, storage mediums started to take major leaps. Through magnetic tape and hard disks, floppies and CDs and on into the future.

Just before the turn of the 20th century was the invention of the magnetic wire. While this was an extremely crude invention, it led to the creation of the magnetic tape in 1928. Although it was created in the '20s, it wouldn't be used to record data for another two and a half decades in 1951. The tape used for recording was only a half inch wide, but could store 128 charcters per inch and record 100 inches per second. With available lengths ranging from 2400-4800 feet, it became the standard of the day for recording data. Magnetic tape was an inexpensive solution for mass storage and was one of the key components of the computer revolution. Four years after the invention of the magnetic tape came the magnetic drum in 1932. By passing a write head over the drum mid rotation and applying a magnetic force through an electric pulsation it records a set of binary 1s and 0s. Capable of storing up to 500 bits per drum, it served as the main internal storage medium of its time, with transfer being completed via punch cards and magnetic tape.

IBM 1311

Introduced in 1956 with the IBM 305 computer was the first hard drive, which stores information in bits on a flat magnetic surface. This initial iteration contained a stack of fifty platters, each two feet wide and stored a total of 5 MB of data, an amount far surpassing anything available at the time. The IBM 1311, released in 1964, was the first drive with a removable storage medium, allowing a single device to record on multiple drives and allow those drives to be retained or stored offsite. Ten years later came the next jump into the future with the creation of Dynamic Random Access Memory. DRAM functions by storing a bit of data in a capacitor through electrons, then counting the number of electrons to determine if the bit is a 1 or 0. This form of memoryhad a bad habitof leaking electrons, and due to this the DRAM eventually lost the information unlessit was updated over time. Despite the faulty and oversized technology, both of these led to the modern-day usage of RAM and HDDs. The modern format of the hard disk drive (HDD) was developed by Seagate in 1980 for use with microcomputers and fit into the same space as the standard 5.25" floppy drive. This first drive held an enormous 5 MB of space, and was quickly included as standard equipment with major companies such as IBM and Apple. The IBM Microdrive was released in 1999 with a capacity of 340 MB, and was the smallest HDD in the world at the time of its release.