How Far We’ve Come
September 4, 1956: First Commercial Hard Drive
The IBM 350 Disk Storage Unit Model 1 was announced, which was the first commercial storage unit to use magnetic disk storage, the technology behind hard disk drives. About the size of two refrigerators and weighing in at one ton, the 350 could store about 4 – 5 megabytes, depending on how it was calculated (pictured above, Bill Worthington former IBM engineer with RAMAC platter).
The 350 would be an integral part of the IBM RAMAC 305 computer, which would be introduced 9 days later on September 13th. The RAMAC 305 and 350 Disk Storage Unit were designed to replace the punch card “tub file” system that was the primary means of storing repeatedly accessed data.
How far we’ve come:
Now-a-days 1 gigabyte is small for a flash drive with the smaller ones coming in at 4 GB.
If 5 MB = 1 ton . . . 4 GB would weigh in at 4096 tons in 1956.
Continuing with this line, if 5 MB was the size of 2 refrigerators
You would need 8,192 refrigerators for 4 GB of storage.
Continuing with this line . . .
If 1 terabyte = 1048576 MB
1 TB in 1956 would weigh in at a whopping 209715 tons.
That would be 41,943 refrigerators!!!