A Fully Operational Three-Rotor Enigma I Cipher Machine. Berlin: Heimsoeth und Rinke, 1944
Serial number A15330 / jla / 44, with three original aluminium rotors with matching serial numbers (I-III) and also two additional rotors (IV-V, serial number A603), each rotor with 26 numbered positions, control panel with standard raised "QWERTZ" keyboard of 26 glass and metal keys with white on black backgrounds, light panel with letters A-Z and hinged rotor cover lifting to reveal 26 light bulbs, reflector & rotor compartment, and battery compartment, ebonite Steckerbrett (plug-board) with 10 patch-cables (8 plugged into Steckerbrett), housed in the original oak case (150 x 280 x 340mm when closed) with leather handle, hinged front panel opening to reveal Steckerbrett, lid with 10 spare bulbs, green contrast filter, 2 spare patch-cables, and instruction panel ("Zur Beachtung!"), two spare rotors in a replacement box; restoration to rotors and reflector, and to case; instruction panel, contrast filter, and power source indicator plate all replaced in modern facsimile; Stecker cables with replacement cables and possibly some modern facsimile plugs; modern bulbs
[with:] two NSA pamphlets on Enigma and its decryption
A VERY FINE, FULLY OPERATIONAL 3-ROTOR ENIGMA I CIPHER MACHINE. The Enigma I, also called the "Heeres" Enigma, was used by the German Heer (Army), and the Luftwaffe (Air Force). Patented in 1918 by Arthur Scherbius, the Enigma machine uses three electromechanical cipher wheels, each with 26 contacts at either side. The three rotors would be placed in pre-arranged positions, and the user would then type in a plain text message using the keyboard. The machine would encipher the message by passing current through each rotor (twice) and the plugboard, and each corresponding encoded letter would light up on the light panel. The enciphered message would then be sent to the receiving party, usually via Morse code. The receiving party would then decipher the message, using another Enigma machine with the rotors and plugs set to the same position as the first. Keying the machine would alter the setting of the rotors, the rotors were interchangeable, and the plugboard added further permutations, so whilst the machine would always perform the same conversion with the same setting, overall there were a total number of 159 million million million possible daily keys.
The Enigma machine set a challenge that was answered by the remarkable team at Bletchley Park, whose achievements provide one of the most compelling stories of World War II. Breaking Enigma was the work of many, including Polish cryptographers who had already begun to decipher Enigma traffic before the war; naval forces who risked their lives capturing Enigma machines and code books; Alan Turing and other mathematicians with their revolutionary models for deciphering; Tommy Flowers and other mechanical geniuses who designed 'Colossus', the world's first programmable digital computer, at the GPO Research Centre at Dollis Hill in north west London; the hundreds of Wrens who operated the Bombes and, later, Colossus machines that made possible the daily decrypts. Their work saved countless lives and had an enormous impact on the submarine war in the Atlantic, the North African campaign, and the Normandy invasion; the work of Bletchley Park is often said to have shortened the war by two years. Furthermore, by coming to the understanding that to defeat Enigma it was necessary to mechanize much of the work of decryption, they helped to inaugurate the computer age.
Used immediately after World War II by the German police; restored by a German machinist; Tom Perera (Enigma Museum); to the current owner in 2009, who has allowed the machine to be displayed in the board room of Ovation Systems, a manufacturer of security equipment for government agencies, including encryption devices.
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