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Dinosaur Sightings: IBM 5251, 4000 Series VAX, Timex Sinclair and more

Digital Equipment Corporation's RP-04

Gene Hirschel sent us this photo of a Digital Equipment Corporation's RP-04, manufactured by Memorex. Gene wrote:

"This is a disk drive, removable platters of storage, each "disk pack" having 20 surfaces. I disassembled this and put it in my dad's station wagon and drove through the Holland Tunnel. In order to get it into my 1 bedroom apartment, I had to take it in the service entrance.

?"The heads were positioned with an optical sensor that read glass etchings on a plate. Sometimes, the disk pack on one disk drive would not be readable on another identical drive because of head alignment.

?"Eventually, when the cost and size of computer hardware was reduced significantly, the head and disk drives sealed against dust and contaminates, and famous "head crashes" were reduced dramatically. This sealed disk and head assemble was called a "winchester" disk. Eventually that term fell out of favor for the easier to type "Hard Disk." The Winchester name came directly from the famous rifle, as IBM announced a 30 Meg removable over a 30 Meg sealed disk (presumably for backups) and called it a "30-30."

?"So, this is a pre-winchester "disk drive" posing next to its distant cousins. It sits now in my office as a conversation piece, and as a REALLY BIG paperweight (at 500 lbs, it's great even in a stiff breeze)."

Photo by Gene Hirschel

Submitted by Gene Hirschel

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...