The Floppy Diskette
IBM introduced the first commercial floppy drive in 1971. It worked with 8-inch flexible disks coated with a magnetic material and permanently encased in a plastic sheath.Users quickly recognized that, for loading data into computers, floppy disks were faster, cheaper, and more space-efficient than stacks of punch cards. In 1976, the floppy's co-inventor, Alan Shugart, created a new 5.25-inch floppy drive for personal computers. That disk size remained an industrywide standard until the latter half of 1980s, when [[xref:http://www.vintagecomputing.com/index.php/archives/621|Sony's 3.5-inch floppy format|Sony's 3.5-inch floppy format]] (invented in 1981) achieved marketplace dominance.
By 2002, though, people had begun to ask, "[[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/103037/what_has_your_floppy_drive_done_for_you_lately.html|What has your floppy drive done for you lately?|What has your floppy drive done for you lately?]]"
Photos: Benj Edwards