Patented by Arthur Scherbius in 1918, the Enigma cipher machine was adopted as the principal crypto-system for all branches of the German military and High Command starting in 1926. Polish mathematicians working for their country’s Cipher Bureau first broke the Enigma code in the early 1930s with the assistance of the French intelligence service who obtained Enigma related information from a German spy. The Poles went on to design the first mechanical machines to successfully attack the Enigma code.
The groundbreaking success of the Poles allowed the British at Bletchley Park, and later the Americans in Dayton, Ohio, to regularly read German coded transmissions throughout most of World War II. Mathematician’s, including Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, efforts to break the Enigma codes resulted in the creation of the first computers. Historians generally agree that the Allies’ ability to break Enigma coded messages resulted in a significant shortening of the war and the saving of thousands of lives. Relatively few Enigma machines survived the war as the retreating German armies destroyed them to avoid their capture, and, at the end of the war, Churchill ordered the remaining machines destroyed.
Enigma Museum is devoted to recovering, documenting, restoring, displaying, and trading in Enigma machines as well as other antique cipher, telegraph, scientific, and communications devices. Please visit our For Sale page for current information on Enigma machines for sale. For more history and images of Enigma machines and other cipher devices, please visit our Enigma Museum.