Punch Cards to Laserdisc: History of Computer Storage in Pics

Over at Royal Pingdom there's a fascinating little picture history of computer storage from the year dot nearly up to the present day. Who knew that hard disks were once the size of a small car? Not me, though I remember being surprised when finding an 8-inch floppy disk in an old science workstation once. And probably few now remember that Fortran's strange columnar code structure came, in part, from punch card use. Check out the images in the gallery: some of them will amuse you, some may amaze.

Magnetic TapeHard disks, 250MB from 1979, and IBM 3380 1GB from 1980Cassette tapeFloppy DisksMagnetic drum. UNIVAC's on left, IBM650 on the right- 10kBSelectron tube, 1024 bits from 1946Hard disk. IBM Model 350Punch tapePunch cardLaserdisc

Interestingly the "Selectron" vacuum tube device (great name there) was actually intended more for memory-type applications, rather than secondary storage. There're also a couple of omissions: Bouchon punchcards were the gizmos used to store the "program" of weave patterns in a loom way back in the 18th Century, followed by the more famous Jacquard looms. And where's bubble memory, and modern flash storage?

Still... amazing, no? Look how far we've come, how much the data density and bit read/write accuracy has gone up as the physical size has gone down. And look how the technology has jumped around from medium to medium. Makes you wonder what's around the corner doesn't it? For more details, check out the Pingdom post. [Royal Pingdom via BBGadgets]

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