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