<- Virtual Exhibitions in Informatics

Hard disk

A hard disk uses rigid rotating platters. It stores and retrieves digital data from a planar magnetic surface. Information is written to the disk by transmitting an electromagnetic flux through an antenna or write head that is very close to a magnetic material, which in turn changes its polarization due to the flux. The information can be read back in a reverse manner, as the magnetic fields cause electrical change in the coil or read head that passes over it.
A typical hard disk drive design consists of a central axis or spindle upon which the platters spin at a constant speed. Moving along and between the platters on a common armature are the read-write heads, with one head for each platter face. The armature moves the heads radially across the platters as they spin, allowing each head access to the entirety of the platter.

The first computer with a hard disk drive as standard was the IBM 350 Disk File, introduced in 1956 with the IBM 305 computer. This drive had fifty 24 inch platters, with a total capacity of five million characters. In 1952, an IBM engineer named Reynold Johnson developed a massive hard disk consisting of fifty platters, each two feet wide, that rotated on a spindle at 1200 rpm with read/write heads for the first database running RCAs Bismark computer. The storage capacity of the 305's 50 two-foot diameter disks was 5 megabytes of data.

Related Topics:
8'' floppy disk
5.25'' floppy disk
3.5 '' floppy disk

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk
http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/history/year_1956.html