A floppy disk is a piece of magnetic film placed inside a small square or rectangular plastic wallet or covering. The original floppy drive, the 8-inch, was invented in 1969 by IBM, and could hold a total of 80 kilobytes. In the beginning, before hard drives, floppy disks were used to store OS's, applications, and various data.
The first read/write floppy disk drive was invented in 1972 by Memorex. In 1973, a new format was released using the same medium to store up to 250.25 kilobytes read/write. Then came the 5.25 inch floppy. It was first created as a prototype in 1975 in order to test it in extreme humidity and other conditions. It held 1.2 megabytes max, but was too big, and was rumored to be "too inexpensive to make money", so the idea was put away. Next year, they found the medium was too large.
Jim Adkisson and Don Massaro sat down in a bar with An Wang of Wang Laboratories to discuss the size. Wang pointed to a napkin and said "about that size." Adkisson took the napkin back to California and measured the napkin, which happened to be 5.25 inches wide. The new disk was designed around this actual size, originally storing 98.5 kb, later extended to 110 kb. The disk was eventually converted to double sided, doubling the capacity to 360 kb. In the early 1980ís, this was extended again to 720 kb. 1984, the disk hit its peak at 1.2 mb.
The most well known and still used now is the 3.5 inch floppy. It was invented in 1983 by Sony. Apple started introducing it into computers in 1984, making it the forced new standard. The 3.5 was much more durable and protective with a new metal flap covering the film read slot. It was initially introduced in 360kb and 720kb. The well know format was the high density 1.44mb format, most widely used today. An extended density was created later, holding 2.88 mb.
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