All the rights of the following videos are of relative owners (IBM and HP, new owner of Digital Equipment Corporation).
In 1956, when the first hard disk of history has been put on the market (IBM RAMAC, acronym of Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) I was about 1 year old.
In 1956 IBM 305 RAMAC has been the first commercial computer equipped with direct access magnetic disk memory unit and moving heads.
The system used to occupy a 9x15 meter room, and has been one of last vacuum tube computer ever manufactured by IBM.
Its capacity was 5 Megabyte (in ASCII+1parity bit). The Unit was equipped with 50 24" disks, two indipendent arms seeks data on disk with an access time of about 600 milliseconds.
It was sold at about 165 000 US$ (of 1956!), but was so expensive that the greatest part of customer prefer to rent it for 3200 US$ (again: of that time) per month.
Take a look to these historical videos
IBM RAMAC hard disk show a data density 2.5Megabyte per cubic meter.
Some stages of the production of diskpacks were held in clean room:
Today no man put the hand in the production chain: could you imagine what could happen to modern disk if it would have been adopted the same level of cleaning to current HDD?
The production chain of IBM diskpack in 1968 (after sold to Hitachi)
In 1986, when I started to work (at Nuovo Pignone DSA, at the time an ENI company) the removable storage systems we used were like these shown below.
We used to be dressed with long white shirts "butcher-dressed", as we used to say
Souvenir of past: digital pdp11 peripherals (british movie)
there where one PDP11 on apollo11 (the other two were at Houston)
Between 1988 and 1995 I used to work at SIDAC (a company of the same group which - in those years - gave birth to Telecom Italia) that produced optical memories (CDROM, Videodiscs).
Because the capacity of a CD-ROM is about 600 Megs, the mastering system was equipped with an open wheel tape unit (the same shown in the video), each one with a capacity of 100 MB. To bring the data to the printing facility (at the time OptiMes, near l'Aquila) Were required 6 wheels of tape.