Historic WW II Enigma encoding machine to go under the hammer

Andrea Divirgilio / September 23, 2011

WW II Enigma encoder machine

World War II and Adolf Hitler don’t bring back any happy memories, but the memorabilia from that era, sure seem to be in demand, especially if they belong to the greatest villain of the war, i.e. Adolf Hitler. We earlier showed you the Most expensive items of Adolf Hitler sold at auctions, and now it is the turn of a historic WWII Enigma encoding machine, which was used for espionage and secret messaging during the tragic war, to go under the hammer. The event is being organized by Christie’s and will take place on September 29, 2011.

On the outlook, this machine looks like a simple typewriter but on closer inspection, one notices the extreme complications that were embedded to hide wartime messages. The way it worked was that, when messages were typed on the writer, it immediately got encoded and transmitted to the intended identical Enigma machine. The receiver had to be tuned to a particular signal, so that on receipt of the message, it got automatically decoded using the 158 quadrillion+ combinations. These codes were actually numerical combinations, which many at that time believed to impossible to crack, hence was used extensively during the war. It took a team of scientists headed by mathematician Alan Turing, along with cryptologists, data analysts and linguistics to figure out the messages that were sent out. It was due to this technological prowess that this machine gained popularity and also for being the earliest blueprint on which modern computing devices are now based.

We had also written about a similar Enigma machine auctioned earlier, which fetched a record breaking money. Going by that trend, it won’t be surprising that this machine too receives a similar winning bid.

Via: CNN

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