Enigma-E: Recreating The Infamous Nazi Code Machine Electronically
By James Grahame
Wars have a way of fostering incredible research and development. Unfortunately, much of that R&D is usually dedicated to figuring out how to exterminate each other more effectively. Still, armies have always needed a way to communicate in a relatively secure manner. Historically, many used substitution cyphers to make sure that messages stayed secret even if the messenger was intercepted or bribed.
During WWII, the German military made extensive use of Enigma coding machines (with mechanical rotors) to encipher their communications. They were confident that the technology was unbreakable. A team of British code breakers at Bletchley Park -- along with some Polish mathematicians who had been able to get their hands on an Enigma before the war -- were able to crack the code and eavesdrop on German communications for years.
The Enigma-E kit is an electronic simulation of a classic M3/M4 Enigma cypher machine. It comes complete with a 65 page instruction manual that details its construction and use. It even features an optional Morse-code output, just in case you want to communicate with a nearby submarine flotilla. Order yours directly from the BP museum shop for £119.99 + postage (the wooden case is by Paul Signorelli in the USA and will cost an extra $100). Or save yourself the postage and visit Bletchley Park in person.