Once upon a time, before the cloud, flash drives, or CDs were invented to store our files, there was a humble plastic square called a floppy disk.
Released in 1971, the floppy disk (which today’s young’uns might recognize only as the “save” icon) allowed people to transfer data and programs between computers.
Although the last major manufacturer, Sony, stopped making floppy disks in 2011, there’s still some tech that relies on the remaining supply, per Wired.
The floppy disk is still used in:
- Airplanes like some Boeing 747s and 767s, and Airbus A320s
- Medical equipment and embroidery machines
- San Francisco’s subway system
- Chuck E. Cheese animatronics (but not for much longer)
Floppies were even used in the US nuclear weapons program up until 2019. And, they can be a medium for some pretty cool art.
While the world goes digital…
… one man holds his ground. Tom Persky runs floppydisk.com from a California warehouse filled with hundreds of thousands of disks.
- He sells ~1k floppy disks per day (3.5-inch disks are most popular)
- Almost 25 years ago, disks sold for as little as seven cents; now, Persky sells 3.5-inch disks for $1 each
- The site also recycles disks, completes data transfers, and resells used or broken disks
Welp, we said the word “floppy” too much and now it sounds weird. Here’s why it’s called that, BTW.
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