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.
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.