Prototype Hebern Cipher Machine Component

Prototype Hebern Cipher Machine Component

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The American inventor Edward Hebern (1869-1952) designed a series of machines for encrypting messages. The Smithsonian collections include a few of these as part of accession 1991.0190. Like many inventors, Hebern accumulated a variety of spare parts. These are some of them, part of museum transaction 1991.3033.
This device includes a black motor on a metal base. A vertical bakelite circuit board is in front of the motor. Green wires from the top of the circuit board attach to a wheel to the right of the motor which is apparently driven by it. Red wires from the bottom of the circuit board are held together with tape and attach to a socket. There are lettered lugs at the ends of the red wires that attach to the circuit board.
Currently not on view
Object Name
cipher machine component
Edward Hebern
overall: 17.5 cm x 34 cm x 30 cm; 6 7/8 in x 13 3/8 in x 11 13/16 in
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of T. Scripps Downing
Codes and Ciphers
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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