In the late 90’s, this was the time when personal computers were no longer an extravagant piece of equipment, but something that can make everyday processes simpler yet efficient. Everyone was now buying personal computers like it’s a television or radio set. The introduction of Windows was the first step towards the making of a home-friendly PC, along with those square plastic objects called floppy discs. The most common type of design for these floppy discs were the Twiggy disks. These disks were actually made for a single purpose and that will be a good topic for discussion later.
The floppy discs dominated personal computing storage for quite a long time. Remember that it was a few years later when flash drives and But truth be told, the floppy discs already existed as early as the 1960’s and 1970’s. T
This was the time when computers looked like those clanky and bulky industrial computers sold by Kontron, Unicomplabs, Evoc and JhTech!
The great grandfather of all floppy discs was the 8-inch disk In 1967, IBM started to develop a computer that is inexpensive and efficient. This was System/370, a computer that uses volatile read/write semiconductor memory for transferring and storing microcodes. The 8 inch disk was the very first diskette produced for the sole purpose of storing and transferring files from one computer to the other. Back then, people called it a “memory disk” and was able to hold around 80 kilobytes of data.
We’ll probably laugh at 80 kilobytes now, but back in the days, it was already a computing wonder for an object to hold such data.
Now, if you’re looking for the shiny, square diskette that used to hold simple games like Mario and Golden Axe for your old desktop computer, then you’re looking for the 51/4-inch minifloppy diskette. An Wang of Wang Laboratories met with Jim Adkinson and Don Massaro of Shugard Associates in 1976 and talked about how to make the 8-inch diskette smaller. . The design was simply too large for simple desktop word processing computers, so Adkinson and Massaro suggested a smaller version of the 8 inch floppy disk. This was the 51/4-inch minifloppy diskette. The minifloppydiskette was so popular that there was one time where Shugard Associates produced 4,000 drives per day.
Variations were also produced, such as the white 5.25 inch floppy disk. Then in the 1980’s, the 51/4 inch diskettes were replaced with the smaller 31/2 inch disks. The popularity of 51/4 inch drives began to wane as modern computing entered in the 1990’s. More computers began to use drives that used the 3-inch compact floppy disk that the disk itself began to evolve. The original 3-inch compact floppy drives had a capacity of 400 kb while the “high-definition” compact disks can carry up to 1440 KB of data. I remember having these so-called HD diskettes because they’re the only ones that can carry game installers and files. In fact, Nintendo did release one diskette that had a number of games inside, but this is for another story.
The 3 inch floppy disk continued until the late 90’s when high-end storage devices like the compact disc and flash drives were invented. However, it’s fascinating to think that these devices actually came from one huge diskette.
So long, floppy disc! Thank you for all the great memories!