You'll Enjoy This Picture Of An IBM Hard Drive Being Loaded Onto An Airplane In 1956


We quickly get used to the latest technology and forget how fast things are moving and how amazing everything is.


So it's helpful to occasionally be reminded.

This is a picture of an IBM hard drive being loaded onto an airplane in 1956. According to @HistoricalPics, which tweeted the picture, it's a 5 mega-byte drive, and it weighed more than 2,000 pounds.

To put that in context, 55 years later, the weakest iPhone 5S has a 16 gigabyte drive, about 3,200-times as big. And it weighs a quarter of a pound. The IBM hard drive could have stored exactly one iPhone picture, and nothing more.


Robert Mann suggests that the drive is an IBM 350, which was announced in 1956 and, per Wikipedia, actually only had 3.75 megabytes of storage. Also per Wikipedia, the 350 was available for rent...for $3,200 per month. Here's how it worked:

Its design was motivated by the need for real time accounting in business. The 350 stored 5 million 6 characters (3.75 megabytes).[7] It had fifty 24-inch (610 mm) diameter disks with 100 recording surfaces. Each surface had 100 tracks. The disks spun at 1200 RPM. Data transfer rate was 8,800 characters per second. An access mechanism moved a pair of heads up and down to select a disk pair (one down surface and one up surface) and in and out to select a recording track of a surface pair. Several improved models were added in the 1950s. The IBM RAMAC 305 system with 350 disk storage leased for $3,200 per month. The 350 was officially withdrawn in 1969.

It will be interesting to see where we are in another 55 years.

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