IBM hard disk drive from 1956


30 Responses to “IBM hard disk drive from 1956”

  1. Anonymous says:

    “IBM’s history website has more information about the drive.”…than the drive could have ever held…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Inside the box were two little people, chipping your info onto stone tablets…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Today, a device with 6,400 times that storage unit’s capacity could fit in the space of a postage stamp. Amazing advances in the storage industry!

  4. Anonymous says:

    . . .tough to get that sucker on a key chain!

  5. ian71 says:

    Oh come on.. who would ever even need 640K? 5 MEGS?? That’s more than you’d ever read.. it’s just an impossible amount of data.

  6. Ultan says:

    Well, you have to compare it to what they had at the time – and even then it sucked. The equivalent amount of information on punched cards would have taken 16 times less room.

    80 bytes per card -> 62,500 cards / 5 MB -> 4″ x 8″ x 0.01″ ~= 3 cu. ft.

    The device in the picture appears to be about 6′ x 4′ x 2′ = 48 cu. ft.

    OTOH, the drum had better access times.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Coming soon! Terra bite thumbnails and softer computer chairs with built in toilets.

  8. Anonymous says:

    1956! That was when I was born. As hard disks got smaller, I got bigger. Is this a Dorian Grey kinda thing?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Agree that’s got to be a drum, not a disk.

    We stored a lot more data per bit then than we do now. Led to some really goofy coding but the more information you could cram into this limited storage medium the better a programmer you were. — Just remember Y2K.

    Also there were 5 and 6 bit bytes on some machines I used.

    Took a corporate level decision to buy more space on the system.

  10. Roy Trumbull says:

    As late as 1986 a drive the size of a washing machine with a removable pack that was either 6 or 8 disks held less than a half gig.

  11. dagfooyo says:

    Only two mp3 files? That’s the equivalent of one 45 record! Wow, who’s the lightweight music medium now? Er, I mean then? I’m not a time traveller. Honest!

  12. nixiebunny says:

    Then there was the interface electronics – another rack of tube gear.

    This much platter area could store about one petabyte these days.

  13. neuromodder says:

    It could store that picture of itself about 160 times. (if my math is correct)

  14. Anonymous says:

    I was under the impression this was a drum drive rather than a disk drive.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It’s all relative. Look at the size of ports on that giant USB hub… I mean, forklift.

  16. Anonymous says:

    No wireless.

    Less space than a Nomad.




  17. dross1260 says:

    It was all about IBM’s Into Airplane Experience.

  18. Absent says:

    And how long would it have taken the attached computer’s processor to decompress those two mp3s and convert them into an analogue audio signal?

    • GeekMan says:

      Don’t forget the memory! If the information can’t be processed in real time, you’d need to page all that decompressed audio to RAM.

    • bcuda69 says:

      It looks like the data throughput is about 15 kilobytes/sec. So if it was read and processed in realtime, it would take about 5 minutes. I don’t see how it could have a 600ms seek with only one access arm operated pnuematically.

  19. Anonymous says:

    in 1984 a winchester hard drive for the synclavier synth was about the size of a suitcase and still only 5mb

  20. Anonymous says:

    In 1986 I bought a 1 gigabyte drive the size of a suitcase for $10,000. Now its hard to find a 1 gig thumb drive.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This particular unit was being delivered to the New Zealand government.

  22. Chuck says:

    One of those things held a Top Secret cat video during a good stretch of the Cold War.

    • orwellian says:

      In Soviet Russia, cat lols YOU!

      I know, I know, In 1985, that joke was actually funny. Lend me your time machine and I’ll run back and tell it to Reagan.

  23. UncaScrooge says:

    If you work in the public sector, your office probably had one of these installed in the 60s to run your financial system. Then removed and decommissioned in the 90s.

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