William A. Goddard
Born July 10, 1913 - September 29, 1997
Direct Access Magnetic Disc Storage Device
Patent #: 3,503,060
William Goddard and John Lynott, together with Louis Stevens and a team of
engineers, invented a unique magnetic disk storage device at the IBM Lab in
San Jose in the 1950s. Able to store five million characters of information
and retrieve any record in less than one second, the magnetic disk drive
represented a technological leap forward in rapid access to mass data
The magnetic disk drive consisted of a stack of closely spaced,
magnetically-coated disks mounted on a rotating shaft, with read-write
heads which did not physically touch the storage surface. Goddard and
Lynott’s key contribution was the air-bearing head, which “floated” very
close to the rotating disks without actually touching, greatly increased
the speed of access.
Goddard was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. After earning his degree from Occidental College, he spent time working for North American Aviation, Inc. before establishing his career at the IBM Corporation.