> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Lisa, we _need_ a good article on
>> disk drives for our archives in the history section. Would you
>> mind preparing one I could keep on file here? PAT]
> Yes, I'm trying to put something together in time for the annivesary.
> I don't know if IBM is doing anything or not.
> In short:
> In the early 1950s Tom Watson Jr, now president of IBM, wanted to
> attract promising college grads from the west coast, but they weren't
> interested in coming east. So he established a new IBM library in San
> Diego. Previously IBM facilities was mostly in the NY state area
> based on train travel. Watson Jr was very much into aviation, being a
> WW II air corp pilot.
> IBM recognized it needed a random access memory instead of just tape.
> The mag drum of the time was too small. They developed the disk
> drive. They had to invent a very flat surface, even dispersal of mag
> coating, a disk arm mechanism, a disk read write head, a way to ensure
> the thing would fall down on the platter yet stay close enough to
> read/write; and a way to randomize records.
> It was announced as a product in Sept 1956. For such a momentus
> product, the business and trade press of the day were largely silent,
> just a minor few lines mentioned IBM announced some new products.
> The earliest disk drive held only 5 meg--5 million characters. Then
> they got it up to 50. The disk was HUGE and part of a bigger machine.
> It was very expensive.
> It some years to get the cost down and space up, and then disks was
> available in other products. But for many years tape was the way to
> go. Even the early PCs had provision to connect a tape drive
> (actually an ordinary audio cassette recorder) for lowcost storage,
> but soon disks got so cheap it wasn't needed and tape was too slow.
> The IBM history web page, on their site, has more information.
news.com.com did a nice history of the San Jose facility. And yes they wanted the Cal Tech and Sanford grads who had NO interest in NY. :)
(Extra credit: We've heard about Burroughs, Univac, and CDC. What
> happened to the remaining two companies of the BUNCH: NCR and
NCR was bought by AT&T?
You skipped GE and Sperry.