Bering Industries Totem Drive for the Macintosh

By the mid 1980s floppy drives just weren’t cutting it anymore. Database, spreadsheet, CAD, graphics and other files were getting too big, and people needed something that could store everything they needed to physically transfer to another location on a single storage medium.

The Bernoulli drive, also called the Bernoulli box, was one popular option. Invented by Daniel Bernoulli, it was similar to a floppy in that the storage medium was on a flexible magnetic platter. However, it was housed in a removable, rigid plastic case, and the drive itself spun at a very high rate of up to 3,000 rpm. The design allowed for the disc itself to spin close to the read/right head without the risk of a head crash.

Source: Bering Industries, 1986

Although the technology was popularized by Iomega, several other companies made Bernoulli drives. The Bering Industries Totem drive targeted the Macintosh market. That made perfect sense given the Mac’s popularity for applications that generate large files–e.g., desktop publishing, graphics design, and CAD.

The Totem’s capacity was 20MB, or as Bering described it, the equivalent to 25 floppy drives. Like other vendors, Bering claimed the Totem offered “unlimited” storage because it was removable. While technically true, there were practical limitations depending on how many disks you wanted to keep track of.

Introduced: November 25, 1986
Original Retail Price: $1,495
Base Configuration: 20MB 5.25-inch removable cartridge

Published by

Michael Nadeau

I am the author of Collectible Microcomputers (Schiffer Books, 2002) and have been an editor of many technology publications including BYTE, 80 Micro, and HOT CoCo. My interest in the history of information technology is broad. I use my blogs, ClassicTech and Vintage Computer Photos, to build on the work I did for Collectible Microcomputers.

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