The floppy disk is a portable storage device that was introduced in the early 1970s, revolutionizing the way data was stored and shared. Developed by IBM, the floppy disk was an essential tool for businesses and individuals alike for decades. But who patented the floppy disk, and in what year?
History of the floppy disk
The floppy disk is a type of storage device that consists of a flexible magnetic layer enclosed in plastic, and is read and written through a floppy disk drive. It was developed at an IBM facility in San Jose (CA) during 1967, with the first 8-inch (20 cm) disk introduced into the market in 1971. The 5¼-inch disks were introduced five years later in 1976, becoming almost universal for both primary data storage as well as for backup and data transfers between computers.
The continued usage of the floppy disk came to signify reliability and portability in both personal computers, microcomputers and their related devices. With its vast capacities to store information on removable media, it provided an invaluable alternative to hard disks which had much less space available at the time. Additionally, the floppy disk had many advantages such as being able to transfer data quickly between computers which could not otherwise be connected directly through standard networks. Moreover, with proper handling it could last up to 20 years without being affected by external conditions such as water or dust contamination. Despite all its advantages however, its era eventually came to pass when more powerful forms of digital storage began appearing such as USB flash drives and external hard drives during the late 1990s.
Who is credited with inventing the floppy disk?
The invention of the floppy disk is a contentious topic with multiple inventors claiming their contribution to the development. While IBM had tried to claim they invented it in the late 1960s, it was actually Japanese Inventor Nakamatsu who created the first successful disk drive two decades earlier. At just 20 years old, Nakamatsu was already trying to miniaturize and improve upon a phonograph by eliminating its scratchy sound quality. After working tirelessly on the project and completing his drive with magnetic and light sensors, he was awarded a Japanese patent for his invention in 1952.
Though Nakamatsu claims to have subsequently licensed his patents around 1979 to IBM, many debate this timeline due to clear evidence that he had come up with the original idea first. As such, it seems likely that credit should lie with the man who made major progress on this remarkable machine before anyone else; inventor Fukumastu Nakamstu himself.
IBM might need to make a change
IBM is no stranger to success, or to failure. They have revolutionized data storage once before, when they invented the floppy disk, and it put them on an equal keel with their competition. But in recent years, they’ve reported nineteen consecutive quarters of declining sales due to reduced demand for hardware and cloud services. This has caused many people—and investors—to wonder whether IBM can rise again in their own market or not.
Fortunately, IBM has made a new breakthrough in storage technology that may be the answer they need. A new development has allowed for the storage of one bit of data on a single atom. Although this is certainly a great achievement and could potentially be very marketable, there are still numerous challenges facing its transition from lab conditions to usable products; so far no information has been given about when we might see a real-world use for such technology from IBM. However, if IBM can manage to implement what could be labeled as revolutionary storage technology into a useable product, then maybe it’s possible for them to make one more successful move and reclaim some lost ground within their own industry.