Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again – it's a funny old world when you come to think of it. Knowing my interest in the history of calculators and computers, my friend Alan in the UK just sent me a link to an article describing how enthusiasts in the UK have rebuilt a Turing Bombe. This was an electromagnetic machine used by British codebreakers to help decipher Nazi codes used during World War Two. In particular, it was used to break messages generated by Enigma machines in the Enigma code.
Of course, Alan Turing is also famous for his work on computing in general, and for his creation of one of the first true (although special-purpose) electronic computers, called The Colossus.
But we digress. In a link to a related article (found at the bottom of the first story) we discover that – earlier this year – at Enigma machine reached $40,000 Euros on Ebay.
Wow, 40,000 Euros equates to 50,796 US Dollars (I base this on the 1.2699 exchange rate that I just looked up on the Internet)! And why is this exciting? Well, I happen to have an Enigma machine of my own here in my office (I use it as a door stop to keep my door open – honestly).
Actually, the machine sold on Ebay was a three-rotor device manufactured around 1941, which means it almost certainly saw use in the war. By comparison, my little rapscallion is a later model – a ten-rotor device that with the legend TD-379 stamped on it's black metal case. I was told this was manufactured in the late 1940s following WWII, which I found puzzling at the time, but I recently discovered that Enigma machines continued to be used for secret communications by large corporations for quite some time after the war.
It certainly makes you think, doesn't it? On the one hand it would be nice to pay off my credit cards, and maybe even add the sun room to our house that my wife has been talking about for so long. On the other hand, of course, I'd have to find something else to use as a door stop!
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.