Magnetic tape allows for inexpensive mass storage of information and so is a key part of the computer revolution. The IBM 726 was one of the first practical high-speed magnetic tape systems for electronic digital computers. Announced on May 21, 1952, the system used a unique ‘vacuum channel’ method of keeping a loop of tape circulating between two points allowing the tape drive to start and stop the tape in a split-second. The Model 726 was first sold with IBM’s first electronic digital computer the Model 701 and could store 2 million digits per tape—an enormous amount at the time. It rented for $850 a month.