Prototype Hebern Cipher Machine


This is a prototype rotary cipher machine component made by the American inventor Edward Hebern. The badly rusted machine has a steel frame with a keyboard in front, a motor on top, and a cylindrical device on its side on the top. Numerous wires lead into the cylinder, and it is attached by a gear shaft to the motor. There is a capacitor in back. There is a cord on the right and another on the left. Dimensions do not include cords. The keyboard has three rows of keys, arranged like a QWERTY keyboard, with no top row. The second row has a "SHIFT (/) LOCK" key and the bottom row a black "SHIFT (/) KEY". The object resembles the keyboard part of 1991.0190.06, but the keys are white on this machine.

Maker: Hebern, EdwardEdward Hebern

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: MathematicsCodes and Ciphers


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Military


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of T. Scripps Downing

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1991.0190.05Accession Number: 1991.0190Catalog Number: 1991.0190.05

Object Name: cipher machine

Physical Description: metal (overall material)rubber (overall material)Measurements: overall: 14 cm x 31 cm x 42 cm; 5 1/2 in x 12 7/32 in x 16 17/32 in


Record Id: nmah_1214326

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.