Sic transit gloria mundi

In a world of rapidly advancing technology it is the fate of any given product to go down from the latest and greatest to a commodity in a few years. The fancy box my first electronic calculator came in probably cost more to make than an entire calculator costs today – and today’s unit, though far more powerful, is sold in an ignominious blister package…

I found a good illustration of such a trend when putting in order some of the accumulated techno-junk in my basement. A load of old software backups allowed me to view a history of the packaging of a once excellent innovation, the soon to be forgotten 3.5-inch micro-floppy disk.

When these rigid diskettes hit the market in the early eighties, popularized by the original Mac and Amiga computers, they were a great improvement over their flimsier 5.25-inch predecessors. They were also expensive enough to warrant packaging in very nice cardboard boxes, ones that would double as easy to browse diskette libraries. Like this elaborate package by Maxell:

Diskette Box - mid-eighties

Then prices inched lower, and by the nineties Maxell made the same product in this box, which was a tad harder to flip the disks in but was made of two cardboard parts instead of the earlier three:

Diskette Box - nineties

And lastly, in the previous decade and up till their gasping breath when flash sticks drove them out entirely, floppies were downgraded to the cheapest one-piece box type possible, as seen below.

Diskette Box - 21st century

Thus passes the glory of the world…

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