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As electronics improved, it became possible to record high densities of data on magnetic tape orginally designed to store analogue audio signals.
This is the oldest data storage technology still in regular use in enterprise IT, as it has used subsequent developments in material science and component construction to remain an economical way to semi-permanently store large amounts of data.
Its use for regular storage tailed off in the 1980s as floppy disks became cheap and capacious enough to replace cassette storage. This particular unit is from a 1960 Eliot 803B in Bletchley Park, and is a very early example of a tape drive. The tape is made from coated 35mm film stock.
Photo credit: Rupert Goodwins