DescriptionSubject matter expert Ralph Simpson writes, "The Enigma machine was invented in 1918 and represents the world’s first encryption device to use electricity to encipher a message. The German military adopted the Enigma starting in 1926 and by 1930 added the plugboard on the front of the machine to greatly increase the security of the device. This Enigma machine is a Model I, used by the German Army (Wehrmacht) and Air Force (Luftwaffe). The German Navy (Kriegsmarine) used the Model M Enigma. This machine was manufactured in 1943 but the German military Enigma itself was introduced was introduced in 1930.
This Enigma machine is the standard military, 3-rotor Enigma machine in a wood case, as used by Germany throughout WW2. The key parts of the Enigma are the plugboard, 3 rotors, and a stationary reflector, all used to encipher each letter of a message. There is also a 26 letter keyboard, without any other special characters or space bar, and a lamp panel to light up the enciphered or plaintext letter.
This Enigma is serial number A16411/jla/43, with a wood case and 3 rotors which have different serial numbers. It was normal for Enigma machines to exchange rotors with other Enigmas or for replacements, exchanging the wood case is unusual. “A16411” represents the base machine serial number while “jla” identifies the manufacturing location, and “43” is the year of manufacture, 1943. The "jla" manufacturing location of this Enigma was Heimsoeth und Rinke of Berlin, the original manufacturer. There were 4 other locations manufacturing Enigma machines under license from Heimsoeth und Rinke."
A sign is affixed ot thte inside cover of the ENIGMA Machine desribes basic maintenance and reads:
Observe the manual for the Encryptionmachine (H. Dv. g. 13)
1. To clean the roller contacts, turn all rolls several times backwards and forwards.
2. To clean the key contacts, press all keys down strongly before turning on power several times and let them pop back up while one key remains pressed.
3. While selection of the characters which are visible in the window, observe that the rollers are in the right position.
4. The "fool proof" (literally: unconfusable) double pole plugs are to be inserted into the holes all the way. The front wooden panel is to be closed, since otherwise three lamps could be lit at the same time.
5. If no lamps are lit after pressing a key, check battery, contact springs, connectors at the switch and the switch itself.
6. If one or more lamps do not light up with a key pressed, the corresponding lamps, the contacts underneath them, the cables of the double poled plugs, the plug receptacles including their short circuit panels, the roller contacts, the working contacts underneath the pressed keys and the "resting"(?) contacts underneath the corresponding keys are to be checked and if dirty or oxidized are to be cleaned (see also number 2).
7. Roller axle and roller receptacles are to be kept clean and like any other bearings occasionally slightly oiled with a sap- and acid-free oil. The fixed contacts of the rollers are to be sanded every six to eight weeks with polishing paper and rubbed with a slighlty oily cloth. The key contacts, the lamp contacts, and the short circuit panels are to be kept free of oil.
8. Key selection is done through either digits or letters. To translate the numbers into letters or back use the following table:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
ManufacturerHeimsoeth and Rinke
Place ManufacturedBerlin, Germany
|Other number||A12761||On label on back of wooden case, near handle|
|Serial number||16411||Inside casing, beneath rotors|