Hard Drive Read/Write Head


Availability: 1 in stock

About Hard Drives:

Hard disk drives were invented in the 1950s. Originally the disks were about 2 feet in diameter. Sometimes they stacked on top of each other to make a stack of disks. The motors to spin the disks and read/write heads were in a separate assembly. The stacks of disks could be removed and replaced with another set. The disk in the display could hold about 1GB of data. The read/write heads could be moved back and forth on a set of pivoting arms to write data in concentric circles called tracks. If it was a multi-platter disk, the same tracks above and below each other were called cylinders. Blocks of data in a track were called records. To find data on the disk you had to know the address of it, which was the cylinder, track, and record numbers. The platter is made from glass with a superfine layer of ferrous coating.

About this Artwork:

The background image is of a single read/write head at the very end of the disk-facing side of the arm. As the disks spin at thousands of revolutions per second, the read/write heads fly over the surface of the disk. It has been described as flying a 747 at 2 inches off the ground. Fingerprints, dust, and hair could cause catastrophic data crashes, so they are tightly sealed to keep contaminants out. The closer it is to the disk, the smaller the magnetic bits can be written and the greater the capacity of the disk, and so continues the on-going effort to shrink the read/write head. This read/write head was constructed in a similar manner to computer chips using photolithography. Because disks require air to fly the heads over them, they cannot operate in a vacuum.


The artwork is framed in an 8"x10" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.