Make Your Own 1970s Magnetic Stripe Cards

We’re now all used to near-limitless storage on flash and other semiconductor technologies, but there was a time when persistent storage was considerably less easy to achieve. A 1970s programmable calculator from Sharp approached the problem with magnetic strips on special cards, and since [Menadue] has one with no cards, he set about making his own.

These cards are a little different to the credit-card-style cards we might expect, instead they’re a narrow strip with a magnetic stripe down their centre. The unusual feature can be found at the edge, where a row of perforations provide the equivalent of a clock line.

The newly manufactured cards have the clock slots machined along their edges, and then the magnetic part formed from self-adhesive magnetic strip. This last thing is a product we were not aware existed, and can think of plenty of possible applications.

The result as you can see in the video below the break are some cards with variable reliability. There’s a suggestion that white cards might work less well with the infrared light used in the clock detector, also a suspicion the low batteries make reading less easy, but still he’s able to retrieve a stored program. An extinct medium is revived.

Longtime readers will know we’ve spent time in calculator country before.

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