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History of storage devices

Updated on December 26, 2016
1890-hollerith punch card
1890-hollerith punch card
1937-punch tape
1937-punch tape
1969-8 inch floppy
1969-8 inch floppy
1976-5.25 inch floppy
1976-5.25 inch floppy
1991-MO disk
1991-MO disk
1994-lomega zip
1994-lomega zip
1995-smart media
1995-smart media
1996-Dov Moran
1996-Dov Moran
1998-Adhesive tape
1998-Adhesive tape
future-dianoccocus bacteria
future-dianoccocus bacteria

Today, people can carry several gigabytes of data in their pockets. However, pen drives are still a relatively new medium, and their forefathers have been around for a while. I describe in short the history of storage devices in respect to the year they were first used.

1890: Hollerith punch card

The punch card is used as a

digital data storage device for

the first time, during the US

population census in 1890–91.

1937: Punch tape

Computer pioneer

Konrad Zuse uses punch

tape to feed his Z1 with

data. Punch tape is used

for data storage as late

as the 80s, mainly in

administrative agencies.

1969: 8-inch floppy

The invention of floppy disks is

a milestone in the development

of storage media. In 1969, an

IBM research group lead by

Alan Shugart introduces the

first 8-inch floppy disk with 80

KB of storage space.

1976: 5.25-inch floppy

The 5.25-inch floppy has a capacity of

720 KB and is the only mobile storage

 Option for private users, till it is replaced

 by the 3.5-inch standard.

1983: SyQuest Drive

Removable hard disks are expensive, but

offer quicker data transfer and relatively

larger capacities. SyQuest succeeds in

designing a 100 mm disk with 5 MB of

storage space.

1989: Compact Disk

Finally, everyone can burn CDs. Blanks

are initially very expensive, but

eventually the price of the media will fall to

very affordable.

1991: MO Disk

Magneto-optical media is considerably more secure

than CDs or floppy disks. However, these drives

and blanks are expensive, and there is no mass

market for them. Sony tries to establish the Minidisk

as a medium, but fails

1994: Iomega Zip

With Zip, Iomega brings a 100 MB medium

to the market—real competition for the

3.5-inch floppy disk. Poor marketing and

other failures prevent its breakthrough.

1995: Smart Media

Toshiba presents the Smart Media

Card as a rival to the recently

Introduced Compact Flash

memory card standard by

SanDisk. By 1999, the standard for

the coming years is more or less

settled to be the SD card.

1996: Dov Moran

The inventor of the USB pen

drive is first scoffed at. But

his new NAND Flash storage

device soon proves to be

ideal and finally replaces the

3.5-inch floppy after 15 years.

1998: Adhesive Tape

While preparing for their CeBIT

visit in 1998, physicians Steffen

Noethe and Matthias Gerspach

discover that adhesive tape can be

coded with data using lasers. Today

there is a whole line of storage devices

based on these clever adhesive strips.

2001: DVD-R

Recordable discs with more than 4 GB of data

capacity are introduced and are soon affordable

for every computer user.

2002: Blu-ray

A blue laser allows considerably finer data

structures on optical media. After an intense

war of formats years later, Blu-ray comes out

on top against the HD-DVD and becomes the HD

video medium.

2003: Iomega

The Rev is a 2.5-inch removable hard disk system with

 a capacity of 35 GB, in which the motor and disk are

part of each unit. Only the electronics and reading

heads are found in the drive.

2005: U3

Applications directly run from a USB stick without

being installed on the host system.

2008: HAMR

A combination of laser and magnet heads

allows considerably higher data densities on

hard disks and is on the brink of going from the

lab into production.

2009: Bacteria as biostorage (future)

The bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans is one possible

Future storage medium: data sequences can be coded

and implanted into the bacterium. The data will be safe

even after hundreds of generations—and will have been

duplicated billions of times


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    • Cleanclover profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Piece of land!

      Thank you dilip :-)

    • profile image

      dilip birajadar 

      6 years ago

      ya its nice...............history

    • profile image

      ding dong 

      7 years ago

      nice website good facts

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      yo wats up boyy

    • profile image

      justin google 

      7 years ago

      bannana scnitzle ich habbe bannnanas im mine pantalons

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      interesting, thanks

    • Cleanclover profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Piece of land!

      Thank you all :-))

    • profile image

      collins olang 

      7 years ago

      i tell you this is wow, well done learned friend, do more

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this is good info

    • Cleanclover profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Piece of land!

      Thank you :-))

    • profile image

      april jhane 

      8 years ago

      ..i like you? cleanclover..muaaah!!!!!!!!!!!! your smile is so cute.. maot!!!! ngeeek.

    • Cleanclover profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Piece of land!

      Thank you prasetio30

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      it really cool history. nice hub. very interesting.


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