While the memory contents for a ROM are set at design/manufacturing time, Programmable Read Only memories (PROM) and more recently One-Time Programmable (OTP) devices can be programmed after manufacturing making them a lot more flexible. Once programmed, or blown, the contents cannot be changed and the contents are retained after power is removed.
The term “blown” is a historical term related to the programming mechanism of PROMs. Contents were written by using a high voltage to burn out interconnection fuses. These PROMs were blown on special devices called PROM Programmers.
The PROM was originally developed as part of a military program related to ICBMs in 1956. The invention is attributed to Wen Tsing Chow who was working for American Bosch Arma Corporation. Commercial devices became available in the late 1960s.
The integration of PROM technology into a standard CMOS processes is attributed to Kilopass Technology Inc. Kilopass has 1T, 2T and 3.5T antifuse bit cells and have been available since 2001. In 2005, Sidense developed a split channel antifuse 1T device. Synopsys has since acquired both Sidense and Kilopass.