Aug. 16, 2015 Blumbers

Big 20: Floppy Disks

Twenty years ago the most common way to store and transfer data was on floppy disks. The original floppy disks of the 1970s were square black flexible envelopes with holes cut for access to the flexible magnetic disks inside. They came in eight inch and later five and a quarter inch sizes and stored a few hundred kilobytes. By the 1980s there were rigid plastic diskettes in three and a half inch sizes storing about one megabyte of data. I remember this because Sony designed the Mavica digital camera around its ability to accommodate a diskette. If the disks had been smaller, the camera would have been too.

Twenty years ago Iomega introduced a slightly thicker 3.5″ diskette that stored a hundred megabytes, but that was the beginning of the end.

The better capacity and stability of compact disks killed the diskette. By 2000 many computers could create a CD with a storage of 750 megabytes. By 2005 DVD burners could store over seven gigabytes.

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