History of the Hard Drive
History of the Hard Drive
It is amazing the degree that computers, tablets, and smart phones have integrated the fabric of modern day living. But to understand how we got to this point, where our current smart phones have greater capacity than the computer that helped land a man on the moon, let’s take a look back at the history of the hard drive.
1889 - In this year, Herman Hollerith was granted his patent for the “Art of Compiling Statistics”. This patent allowed him to develop a machine to record and store information on punch cards. This technology was put to use to more accurately complete the US census. He later continued to improve his tabulation machines. This process formed the foundation for the data processing industry. By 1924, the company that Hollerith had formed was renamed to International Business Machines Corporations (IBM), maybe you have heard of them.
1946 - Freddie Williams applied for the patent of a storage device known as the cathode-ray tube (CRT). Capable of storing up to 1024 bits, it later became known as the Williams tube.
1946 - Development of the Selectron tube, capable of storing 256 bits of information, began.
1950 - This started the decade of using drum machines. These were magnetic drums designed to store information. The US Navy used this technology.
1953 - IBM invented the first hard drive.
1956 - IBM shipped its first computer with a hard drive installed, the IBM 305 RAMAC. It was the size of two refrigerators and weighed a ton. Only being capable of storing 5 MB of data translated into a cost of $10,000 per megabyte.
1959 - The Chucking Grinder Co., later becomes the Bryant Computer Products Co., starts working extensively on disk drives.
1961 - IBM introduces the 1301 disk storage drive which could store 28 million characters.
1973 - IBM ships the 3340 Winchester HD with a 30 MB capacity of stored data and 30 MB of removable storage.
1980 - Seagate develops the first hard drive that can be used with microcomputers.
1980 - IBM develops the first HD capable of storing 1 GB. It still weighed 550 pounds and cost about $44,000.00
1980’s - Scientists from U.C. Berkeley coined the term “RAID”. It is an acronym for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. This method involves using multiple storage devices that are combined into one logical system.
1986 - The original SCSI, or “scuzzy”, is released. This is short for Small Computer System Interface. This is the technology that allowed multiple devices to be connected together.
2003 - This is when Hitachi bought out the leader in the HD development business for a whopping 2.05 billion dollars.
2003 - Seagate produced the first ATA (SATA) drive, Serial Advanced Technology Attachment.
2005 - The first 500 GB hard drive came out of the Hitachi factory.
2007 - Hitachi advanced quickly and released the first HD with 1 terabyte storage capacity.
As can be seen by this time line, the capacity and capability of storage systems is advancing by leaps and bounds. For our purposes we will end the history here, since most of us are experiencing this history in real time.
What to Expect?
It is impossible to guess accurately when, how fast, or what types of storage options we will have in the future. There is a trend toward SSD’s (solid state drives). This type of drive isn’t a traditional drive at all. It has no moving parts and it has many advantages to other types of hard drives. Interestingly, this is technology that had its roots planted firmly at, you guessed it, IBM back in the 1950’s.
In retrospect, it is fascinating to contemplate how quickly this technology has advanced. While IBM was certainly a leader in the development of this technology, their advances have been utilized by many other companies to continue the race for the smallest, fastest, and most efficient storage systems.