An Enigma Code Machine in original oak case,No. 13598/jla/44
Lot 74
An exceptionally rare three-rotor German Enigma enciphering machine, 1941,
Sold for £85,250 (US$ 141,455) inc. premium
Lot Details
An exceptionally rare three-rotor German Enigma enciphering machine, 1941,
Machine by Heimsoeth & Rinke,
Ser. No. 13598,
Army use format,
An exceptionally good example of the three-rotor format with the full matching I II and III rotors bearing matching machine serial numbers and 44 batch code, reflector cap stamped B in red, standard QWERTZ keyboard with white characters on black ground, switching control from internal battery and aux battery supply, ebonite-mounted plug-board, commercial operating instructions inside the lid, spare bulb rack above complete with a set of period bulbs, script clip to centre and twin plugboard patch lead sockets flanking lead clips, night-vision strip holding sweeps to storage keep in lid, in metal black crackle-finished case, in oak outer case with front flap, sunken lever catch to front and remains of the original factory wax seal bosses with twine groove lines and remnants of the writing seen on lid boss, count-sunk brass screw panel construction, expected operational wear fitting an appropriate colour - 11in. (28cm) wide, the depth 13.3/8in. (34cm), the height with lid open 17.1/2in. (44.4cm)

Footnotes

  • Enigma has for many become an icon of modern scientific technology, thanks in part to the end of Official Secrets Act 1939 which covered the hush-hush operations at Bletchley Park until 1974.

    Patented by H. A. Koch at the end of WWI, the process of scrambling a readable message into otherwise unrelenting nonsense and back again using another machine, relies on the 'wheels within wheels' - the rotors, which are at the heart of the apparatus.
    Each rotor has input and output contacts for the electrical pulse which travels between sender head and reflector through all three, then back again. Each rotors' contacts are wired differently, depending on the number, to a set matrix. Rotor I is wired in Royal-series, rotor II in Flags and III in Wave. With each revolution of the right-hand rotor, causes the middle rotor to turn one notch forward and when this middle rotor reaches full revolution, the left-hand rotor moves forward one notch and so-forth.

    With a fully patched plugboard, a message comprising 26 characters hidden within 100 character mask has a solve ratio of 157 trillion.
    Enigma mixes up, in a controlled manner, a message by means of carefully map-coursed polyalphabetic substitution.

    Thanks to Enigma, geniuses such as Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers were needed to design and build the first programmable electronic computer, Colossus, to take over from the Bombe code breaking machine.
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