Prototype Hebern Cipher Machine


This prototype consists of a keyboard wired to an array of vacuum tubes. The combined measurements do not include wires and plugs. The keyboard measures: 28 cm. w. x 34.5 cm. d. x 23 cm. h. The array of tubes measures: 48.2 cm. w. x 50.5 cm. d. x 26.7 cm. h. The keyboard resembles 1991.0190.05. There are three rows of black keys in front. These resemble a QWERTY keyboard, with a "." key instead of an "S". There is a space bar below the keys, with "SHIFT (/) LOCK" and "SHIFT (/) KEY" keys on the right. The keys are linked to electrical contacts. Some wires attach to a squat cylinder mounted horizontally on top of the machine. A capacitor is behind this cylinder on top, a motor to the left. Other wires are connected to a panel on the front of a large metal box. Holes in the top of the box hold a 5x5 array of vacuum tubes. There are three more tubes in back of the array, one smaller than the others. There is a condenser on each side of these three tubes. In back of these is a row with two large transformers on each side, a choke, and a small transformer. A back panel attached to the box contains a switch, a light and an ammeter. A large round plug is attached to numerous wire coming out of the box. A cord with smaller round plugs at each end fits the keyboard on the right side. The end of the plug that fits into the keyboard has a torn slip of paper around it. At the other end is tied a second torn slip of paper. A third, two-pronged plug extends from the keyboard and has a paper label tied around it.

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: 1991.0190.06Accession Number: 1991.0190Catalog Number: 1991.0190.06

Object Name: cipher machine

Physical Description: metal (overall material)rubber (overall material)Measurements: overall: 26.7 cm x 48.2 cm x 93 cm; 10 1/2 in x 18 31/32 in x 36 5/8 in


Record Id: nmah_1214327

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