Tagged: 8-inch

8-inch hard disk drive (1979 – late 1980s)

The 8-inch hard disk drive was a magnetic storage device mainly used in minicomputers, and was first introduced in 1979 eventually replacing the 14-inch disk pack and the earlier 14-inch ‘Winchester’ sealed disk drives.

The first 8-inch drive was the IBM ‘Piccolo’ drive, using six 8-inch platters and offering 65 MB of storage in a sealed unit to reduce the possibility of dust contamination. The smaller size also meant the drive didn’t need to be a standalone unit.

8-inch drives were produced from 1979 by a number of different manufacturers, but in 1980 Seagate introduced the 5.25-inch hard disk drive aimed at the microcomputer market, and it was the 5.25-inch hard disk drive that was introduced in the IBM PC-XT in 1983.

However, 8-inch hard disk drives continued to be used in minicomputers for some years.

Sources / Resources

Laser Juke (1990 – 2002)

The Laser Juke was a music video jukebox system that played 8-inch LaserDiscs using an autochanger mechanism. It was introduced by Pioneer, possibly around 1990, and the machine could house 10 discs, each containing 10 music videos (5 per side) with NTSC analogue video and audio. The discs were normally rented from Pioneer, and came with inserts showing the track listing.

Over 380 discs are listed on LDDB, and discs continued to be produced until at least 2002, which is later than other LaserDisc formats.

The Laser Juke name was also used by Pioneer on an unrelated Compact Disc jukebox system.

Sources / Resources

8-inch 78rpm records (late 1920s – mid 1930s)


8-inch (20cm) 78rpm shellac records were introduced the late 1920s under labels such as Broadcast (British Vocalion), Eclipse (Crystallate Company), Edison Bell Radio and Plaza.

These records had a slightly narrower groove and smaller centre labels, and were able to compress 3 minutes on a disc that was 20% smaller than standard 10-inch 78rpm records.

Eclipse records were sold from 1929 in Woolworth’s stores for 6d (around 2½p). Eclipse records replaced the previous Victory range of 7-inch shellac records, and were cheaper to produce as well as giving an extra minute’s playing time. Eclipse promised two hits per record, one on either side. By 1935 Woolworth UK sold millions of Eclipse Records each year, but its margins were being eroded by escalating raw material costs. Eclipse records were replaced by the Crown range of 9-inch (22.5cm) records pressed on cheaper Bakelite.

Edison Bell’s entry into the 8-inch disc market came in 1928 with the ‘Edison Bell Radio’ label. These record cost 1/3d (about 6p). Almost all were recorded and made in Britain. It was a high-quality product aimed at the popular market, but the label was cancelled in 1932.

Sources / Resources

Television Electronic Disc (TeD) (1975 – 1978)

Television Electronic Disc (TeD) was a video disc format, released in 1975 by Telefunken and Teldec (after being initially announced in 1970) in West Germany.

The format used 8-inch flexible foil discs, which spun at 1,500 rpm on a cushion of air. The discs were claimed to withstand being played 1,000 times and used a vertical recording method with 130-150 grooves per millimeter (compared to 10-13 on an LP). The tracks were read by a pressure pick-up, which translated the surface of the ridges, via a piezo-electric crystal, into an electrical signal.

When released, the discs could hold 10 minutes of colour video, so longer programmes required a lot of disc changes.

TeD never gained wide acceptance, and could not compete against the emerging videocassette systems of the time such as VHS and Betamax. Telefunken adopted VHS in 1978.

Sources / Resources

LD-ROM (1993 – 1996)

LD-ROM (top)LD-ROM (for LaserDisc Read-Only Memory) was a variation of LV-ROM introduced by Pioneer in 1993 for use in its LaserActive home entertainment system.

LD-ROM had a capacity of 540 MB, higher than that of the LV-ROM and made possible by the use of constant linear velocity (CLV). Like LV-ROM, 12-inch discs were used, but some 8-inch discs were also available.

LD+G disks were also made available for use in the LaserActive, and like the CD+G format were used for karaoke. Add-ons for the LaserActive allowed other games for other systems on LD-ROM discs to be used, including the Mega LD (for Sega Mega CD software) and the LD-ROM² (for PC-Engine CD-ROM² software).

The LaserActive was an expensive system and a commercial failure. The last LD-ROM title was released in 1996.

Sources / Resources

LaserDisc EP (1983 – 2001)

LaserDisc EPs (also known as LaserDisc Singles) were smaller versions of standard LaserDiscs. They were 8-inch in diameter and allowed for 20 minutes of analogue video per side. They were often used for music video compilations, and were released from around 1983 to the end of LaserDisc production in 2001.

The 8-inch LaserDisc format was also used in the Laser Juke video jukebox system, with discs being produced until at least 2002.


8-inch floppy disk (1971 – early 1980s)

The 8 inch floppy disk (or diskette) was a magnetic storage disk for data that was introduced commercially by IBM in 1971.

It was designed by a team in IBM as an inexpensive way to load data into the IBM System/370, and was initially simply a read-only bare disk (the ‘Memory Disk’) holding 80 KB of data.

By the time of it’s commercial launch, it had been enclosed in a plastic enveloped lined with fabric, to protect the disk and minimise the problems caused by dust.

The first read-write version was introduced in 1972 by Memorex, and could hold 175 KB on 50 tracks (with 8 sectors per track). It was hard-sectored and had 8 sector holes (and an index hole) on the outer diameter.

Further improvements led to teflon-lubricated fabric liners, teflon-coated disks and an eventual increase in capacity to 1.2 MB in the double-sided double density (DSDD) version in 1977.

It was eventually displaced by the 5.25-inch minifloppy disk introduced in 1976.

Sources / Resources

Preservation / Migration

media stability 1obsolescence 1

Bernoulli disk 8-inch (1982 – 1987)

Iomega’s Bernoulli disc was first introduced in 1982 in it’s 8-inch format, and was Iomega’s first widely known product (this was 13 years before they launched the Zip drive). The drive was  known as the ‘Bernoulli Box’ and was a high-capacity removable magnetic disk storage system, using the Bernoulli law in physics to pull a fast-spinning PET disk towards the read-write head, but keep it separated from it by a cushion of air to make the system crash-proof.

At a time when 5.25-inch minifloppy discs held a maximum of 1.2 MB when used in the IBM PC AT of 1983, the Bernoulli Box’s choice of 5, 10 or 20 MB capacity seemed enormous, especially since contemporary hard drives still only held up to 30 MB. A review in 1983 praised the Bernoulli Box system as ’embodying the best of both worlds’ of floppy and hard disks in a hybrid system.

The Bernoulli Box system used large 11 by 8-inch rigid cartridges containing an 8-inch flexible disk which span at 1,500 rpm. It was somewhat more reliable than a contemporary hard disk drives, since a head crash was impossible; a power cut or knock to the drive would cause the disc to move away from the head rather than towards it. A review of 1985 conducted several ‘bump tests’ to see how crash-proof the drive was, and found that even dropping the table from a height of 1 foot did not cause any data loss.

Due to the size of the drives, these were external devices, connected to an IBM PC via a controller card or to an Apple Macintosh via the communications ports.

Disks were inserted into the drive, and a latch turned to lock it in place. The disk could not be removed from the drive until it span down and the latch can then be released. Drives required cleaning, and a cleaning cartridges was available, and the heads needed replacing periodically (despite not touching the disk surface).

The Bernoulli Box was expensive, and in 1987 cost more than many PC clones. The cartridges alone cost $79 in 1985, but at the time there were no other options for the amount of removable storage offered by a Bernoulli Box, unless you were happy to use tape drives which were very much slower. A review of 1985 suggested the Bernoulli Box was faster than hard drives on the IBM PC XT and not noticeably slower than the hard drive of the IBM PC AT.

It was replaced by the Bernoulli Box II that used 5.25-inch form factor disks and eventually offered larger capacities of up to 230 MB.

Sources / Resources