Evolution of Disk (and a tape)

Andy Bergmann

Evolution of Disk

We were cleaning out some drawers in the office yesterday and came across a clunky old SyQuest disk. Memories of a particular workflow suddenly came back to me:

– Flip through a book of stock images. Choose one.
– Walk to the stock agency and pick up the chrome.
– Drop the chrome off at a service bureau for a drum scan.
– Return to the office and wait.
– Receive package from courier several hours later.
– Take out chrome and SyQuest disk with “hi-res” image.
– Try repetitively to mount the disk until it finally works.

This last step was particularly fun, as it often required several OS reboots.

All of this is of course now accomplished with a scroll and a click (and in turn a few extra inches around the waistline), but SyQuest certainly deserves a tip of the hat for making large graphic files portable and quietly revolutionizing the design field.

This graphic focuses on some of the more popular magnetic removable storage formats from the 70’s through the mid 90’s, before optical and ultimately solid state technologies came on with a vengeance.

A quick note: Each of these formats were revamped several times to increase storage capacity over the years. I’ve just included the sizes that were most popular for long periods of time as a frame of reference.