The magnetic drum | 1932
Not the most practical device, the magnetic drum (like the IBM 650, above) featured a revolving cylinder. Individual words could only be recalled when the drum was in the right part of its cycle. It held around 10KB.

The selectron tube | 1946
It may look like a torture device, but the 10” long selectron tube was an early way of storing data. With between 32 and 512 bytes of storage, you wouldn’t even get a tenth of a Word file on there today. It was expensive and unreliable.

Floppy disc | 1971
The floppy disc, invented by IBM, brought portable storage to the masses. The first generation were eight inches and could hold 80KB. They got progressively smaller until they were superceded after the 3.5 inch version.

Laserdisc | 1978
The precursor to the CD and DVD, the first iterations of this technology were branded the Laser Videodisc and the DiscoVisio. They were a gigantic 30cm in diameter and could hold an hour of video or audio.