From Paper Tape to Data Sticks: The Evolution of Removable Storage

Over the years, people have tried to transfer information from one computer to another in a dizzying number of ways. Here's a look at some of the best, along with others that time forgot

The ROM Cartridge

A ROM cartridge is a circuit board containing a read-only memory (ROM) chip and a connector encased in a rigid shell. These cartridges could be used for games or programs.

Fairchild invented the ROM software cartridge for use with its Fairchild Channel F video game system in 1976. Soon, home computers like the Atari 800 (1979) and the TI-99/4 (1979) had adopted the ROM cartridge, using it for simple software loading and distribution. Lotus even made a cartridge-based version of Lotus 1-2-3 for the IBM PCjr (1984). ROM cartridges were fast and easy to use, but they were also relatively expensive--a drawback that sealed their doom.

Photos: Benj Edwards/IBM/Steven Stengel

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