Cryptograph (coding and decoding machine) by Sir Charles Wheatstone, 1843-1875

Made:
1843-1875 in United Kingdom
maker:
CHARLES WHEATSTONE

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Cryptograph (coding and decoding machine) by Sir Charles Wheatstone, unknown maker, British, 1843-1875.

Charles Wheatstone was concerned with the lack of secrecy in messages transmitted by telegraph, as they could be read by operators before being passed on to the intended recipient. For this reason, he devised this instrument, which was designed to encode and decode messages rapidly. Optimistically, he claimed that the code it created was indecipherable by any known method. An initial code word was chosen by the correspondents, and the letter rings and hands rotated to encode the message from this code word.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1935-588
Materials:
copper alloy, leather, satin, silk?, silver (metal), velvet and wood
Measurements:
Case closed: 125 mm x 120 mm x 15 mm,
Case open: 125 mm x 240 mm x 15 mm,
type:
cryptograph
credit:
Donated by Mr. R.L. Atkinson.