Computer 5.25 ins floppy disk, mid 1980s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The floppy disk drive was invented at IBM by Alan Shugart in 1967. The advantages of storing information on floppy disks were that space could be freed up on the computer's hard drive, and that data or software could be taken from one computer to another. The earliest floppy drives used an 8-inch disk, but when the first IBM personal computers were introduced in 1981, smaller 5 1/4 inch disks were used. By the mid 1980s, technological improvements led to the introduction of the even smaller 3 1/2 inch diskettes which we are familiar with today. As well as being more compact, these diskettes could also store more information than the earlier disks. The disks are made of plastic coated with a magnetic material on which data is stored in binary form. Made by CPT.