While PC Cards (or PCMCIA Cards as they were mistakenly known) are a thing of the past, they can often be quite useful. Take my Compaq SmartStation Laptop setup. Being from the 486 era, and a laptop, there are not a lot of solutions for mass storage transfer. There was no USB. There are no commercially available adapters for installing a 5.25″ drive (although I made my own with my 3D printer). The only solution you would normally have would be a Parallel Port Zip Drive. But luckily for me, it does have two PC Card slots. And since there now exists PC Card to CF Flash adapters, I have a solution for mass transfer.
But, in 1993, someone decided there was a need for a ISA to PC Card adapter. In fact, there seems to be a few different controllers for them. One of which is the controller in question here, the Vadem VG-469. The other one, that I’m aware of, was made by Intel. And is the basis for the Vadem product.
I believe this particular card, and others like it, were part of some industrial solution. Someone needed interchangeability between a Laptop and a Desktop for their PC cards. But the real reason I think this has to be an industrial design is due to the lack of drivers. There seems to be enough information for a Windows 95 machine to use these controllers. But not WFW 3.11, which would have been the default OS during the time this card was made. Unless you were still primarily using DOS at the time (which there are also no drivers for). That leads me to believe that it was likely for some other OS. But that is speculation at best. Maybe someone just needed a portable HDD, and this was the interface. Thats right, PC Card HDD solutions did exist as well…
Whatever the case, it is an interesting piece of Tech History from the 1990s. Check out the video below. Enjoy.