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.

Iomega and the Zip Drive



Iomega entered the removable storage business in the 1980s with the Bernoulli Box, which could store 10MB or 20MB of data on large magnetic-disk cartridges. Later revisions of this technology yielded the Zip drive (1994), which could store 100MB of data on an inexpensive 3.5-inch disk. People liked the format because it was inexpensive and capacious, and Zip drives enjoyed strong sales throughout the remaining years of the 1990s. But CD-Rs could store even more data (650MB) and when the price of CD-R discs dropped to cents apiece, Zip drive sales plummeted. Iomega tried to keep up with improved drives of 250MB and then 750MB capacity, but the CD-R had already won. Zip faded into history.

Photos: Iomega

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