A new, single-disc type memory, representing a novel approach to the fast-access, large-storage problem, was shown at the Eastern Joint Computer Conference by the Laboratory for Electronics, Inc. Named the LFE Bernoulli Disk, the device was developed to overcome some of the problems with conventional drums.
The device uses a two-mil-thick mylar magnetic tape disk that is rotated close to a stabilizing backplate in which read-write heads are embedded flush with the smooth surface. An electric motor drives the tape disk, while a small orifice in the center of the backplate allows air to flow between the rotating disk and the stabilizing plate.
At high speeds—up to about to 15,000 rpm for a seven-inch disk—centrifugal force flattens the limp tape disk, and air is pumped through the orifice and out at the disk periphery. The hydro-dynamic forces of the air between the disk and the plate, together with dynamic and elastic forces of the revolving disk, cause the disk to rotate at a controllable, small separation from the heads. Production models of the disk, due in about six months, should cost about 20 to 25 percent less than equivalent drum storage units, LFE reports. (Electronic Design, Jan. 6, 1960, p.8)
This sounds a lot like a floppy disk, which comes as a surprise to me. I thought that the first floppy was developed at IBM a couple of years later, as a ROM to load software upon computer startup.