Our Open Enigma goes to the Minnesota Speech State competition.
Thank You Mary Pat!
Here is her speech, reprinted with permission:
A Code Worth Breaking Everyone  has their  secrets, but in the spring  of 1974, Mrs. Ruth  Bourne  proved just how extensive  these secrets can  be. She gave the book The Bletchley  Park Circle  to her husband,  he then  replied,  “That’s  interesting,  dear, what’s  for tea?” And despite Mrs. Bourne’s  husband’s causal  response, the work that Mrs. Bourne  along  with  thousands  of other British  completed  in  a top- secret war effort  that remained  under  wraps long  after  the end of the war, was anything  but ordinary.  These women  worked at Bletchley  Park, which  housed the British  code breaking operations  during  World War II. At its peak approximately  10,000 civilians,  8,000 of whom were women  tackled the complex  task of deciphering  and analyzing  the intelligence  derived from  enemy  radio signals  Not only  did the workers of Bletchley  Park contribute  to intelligence efforts  that aided the allied  nations,  but also the techniques  developed  at Bletchley  Park played  a major role in  the Cold War and in many  cases still  remain  relevant. So let’s start by breaking  the code of the history  of Bletchley  Park and the amazing  story of how this  huge  and important  operation  impacted  World War II. Then  we will  decipher  the women  who were not only  essential  to the intelligence  efforts  at Bletchley  Park but who were able to keep their  work secret for decades after  the war ended. And finally  we will  reveal  some of the interesting  encryptions  of how the work that started at Bletchley  Park that lived  beyond WWII.
Nazi military  intelligence  developed what became known  as enigma,  a code that no one understood,  produced by a machine  that no one had ever seen and with  a range  of possible inscriptions  that were utterly  unimaginable.  Enigma  used rotors to scramble  messages  into unintelligible  cypher  text. While  researching  this  topic, I came across Marc Tessier  and James Sanderson  of S and T Geotronics  in   Georgia  that are currently  making  exact replicas  of the enigma  machine  (in  order to promote  education,  cryptology  and  gaming.)  I was dismayed  to (realize)  discover  that these working  scale models  $1000 dollars,  I then  emailed  the company. And they graciously  agreed to loan me an enigma  machine  for the next two weeks free of charge. I had to promise  my  parents this  morning   that I wouldn’t  drop it. So in addition  to seeing  a picture  of the enigma,  we’re able to see the actual  size  of this  machine  (actually  looked like  in WWII.)Finding  the Key settings  for each network  – which  were reset at midnight  every  day  –was the chall enge  faced by the Code breakers.  The standard 3 rotors Enigma  was capable of being  set to  approximately  159,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible   combinations—and  no I didn’t sutter,  that’s 18 zeros. What’s important  about the enigma  machine  is that as you can  see it was portable, meaning  the Nazi military  could  use it from  any location  of the battlefield.
According  to the book, The Bletchley  Park Code Breakers, Before WWII, militaries  used fixed  lines  to deliver  messages,  but at the start of WWII they began  usi ng  radio technology  to spread messages  faster.  Thanks  to Britain’s  exceptional  radio engineers  their  receivers  could pick up messages  from  farther  away. Thankfully,  the Germans  were unaware  of this  new development in reception.  With  this  advance  in retriev ing  of encoding  messages,  a hidden  army,  mostly  made up of young  civilian  women,  engaged  in a shadowing  struggle  for Nazi military  intelligence.  But how did this  English  Estate become the site of one of the most important  intelligence  efforts  of WWII? According  to the book, The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There, the estate was conveniently located within  easy walking  distance  of  Bletchley  railway  station.  In addition,  this  station  was on the line  between the cities  of Oxford and Cambridge.   The universities  in these two cities provided  the mathematicians  and scientists  needed to break this  complicated  code.
The intelligence  efforts  at BP quickly  out grew the space of the main  estate house;  in Gwendoline  Page’s memoir,  We Kept the Secret, she explains  that messages  sent by the German forces in  Morse code were intercepted  by radio and they were dispersed at Ble tchley  to specific ‘Huts’, depending  on where the messages  had come from.  And as we can see from  this complicated  map, the number  of facilities  on the BP estate were quite  extensive.  It was in Huts 3,6,4 and 8 that the highly  effective  Enigma  decrypt teams  worked. The huts operated in  pairs and, for security  reasons, were known only  by their  numbers.  For example,  the code breakers concentrating  on the Army  and Air Force cyphers  were based in  Hut 6, supported by a team in the neighboring  Hut 3 who turned the   deciphered  messages  into  intelligence  reports. Hut 8 decoded messages  from  the German  Navy, with  Hut 4 the associated  naval  intelligence  hut.
Now that we’ve deciphered  the history  of Bletchley  Park, let’s break the code on the women  who were essential  to the intelligence  efforts  that took place there. The experience  at Bletchley  Park can best be described as unique.  And according  to The Bletchley  Park Code breakers, women  out numbered  men 3 to 1 at BP but unlike  the civilian  world of the 1940s they were  not placed in  support roles.   The women  made significant  contribution  to the code breaking.    But who are these women  that are credited with  shortening  WWII by two to four years? 90- year- old Becky Webb, who joined  the war effort  at age 18 in  1941. While  some decoders were trained  in mathematics  and approached cryptography  from  a technical  angle,  she reports using  a ‘psychological  approach Webb recalled  that “the Germans  tested the day’s setting  by using  their  girlfriends  names  or dirty  words…It was a great  shame  when  they were stopped, as we enjoyed the dirty  words.”Mavis  Lever Batey,  age all  of 19 was one of the BP cryptologists  that cracked the Italian Enigma  coding  system.  She recalls  that one of the questions  that were asked of new recruits  in training   was taken from  Alice  in  Wonderland:   Which  way does the clock go round?   If you were stupid  enough  to answer ‘clockwise’  you would  be told —- not if  you are the clock.   This  response summed  up the work the new recruits  would  do at BP —— they would  all  have  to be prepared to think  in a different  way.
But life  at Bletchley  wasn’t  all  decoding,  there was down time  too when  this  large number  of people needed something  to do while  they  were not at work.   The recreational  life  at BP was busy  and exciting.  The  park’s Recreational  club included  a library,  drama club,  music and choral  societies,  bridge  groups,  fencing  competitions  and Scottish  dancing  clubs.   And yes, there was romance.  One interesting  twist  is that these couples  were not allowed  to share confiden tial  information  with  one another.   Having  signed  the Official  Secrets Act, the workers at BP kept their  vow of silence  until  they were given  clearance  thirty  years after the war. But for many  of the young  women  at Bletchley,  the removal  of the clandestine  veil  came too late, with the majority  of workers’ parents and in some cases spouses having  passed away before their decryption  effort  became public  knowledge.Now that we’ve covered the history  of Bletchley  Park and talked about the women  who worked there, let’s  investigate  encryptions  that tell  us about BP’s legacy.
One important  achievement  was the development  of Colossus.  This  was the world’s first electronic  digital   computer  that was at all  programmable.  In fact, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary  of when  Colossus  successfully  broke the Italian  Enigma  for the first  time.Colossus  was designed  by the engineer  Tommy  Flowers  to solve  a problem  posed by mathematician  Max Newman  at the  Government  Code and Cypher  School  at  Bletchley  Park. This  computer  was huge  about the  size  of this  room —- weighing  5 tons. According  to a journal article  in The Annals  of the History  of Computing,  Colossus  is the real source of the computer technologies  that we use today.The first  Colossus  was assembled  in  Hut 9 but eventually  there were  10 colossi  built  on site with  an estimated  550 Bletchley  Park team members  needed to operate them.  But like  all  of the other break through  developments  of Bletchley  Park, colossus  was keep secret for 30 years. Even  though  the machines  were destroyed  at the end of the war, a replica  was erected at Bletchley  Park in the mid  1990s and This  replica  is now on display  —- in Hut 9 of course— for public  view  by the 250,000 people who visit  the museum  annually.  And as WWII gave way to the Cold War, it was vital  that Britain’s  former  ally,  the USSR, should  learn  nothing  of Bletchley  Park’s wartime  achievements  because the developments helped  the US in their  war effort. But the lasting  mark of Bletchley  Park can be traced to the path it paved for women  in  not only  in  academia,  but also in the work force in  general.  Up until  this  point,  women  were more often  than not placed in support roles in  the work force, but Bletchley  carved a different  path for women.  The accomplishments  that women  at Bletchley  Park completed  showed the world that women  had far more to offer  to the work world  than they  had been credited  for. After  the war, many  of the code breakers went on to take important  positions  in  academia,  business  and politics.So today, we have looked at the history  of Bletchley,  the people that have  worked there, and its legacy.  And while  Mrs. Bourne’s  husband  was upset about his  afternoon  tea interpreted,  it’s important  for him —and  us—  to remember  that it not been for his  wife’s  work along  with  the work of thousand  of other British  women,  the outcome  of the war would  have been very different—and  indeed  that’s a code worth breaking.

Our Open Enigma goes to the Minnesota Speech State competition.

Thank You Mary Pat!

Here is her speech, reprinted with permission:

A Code Worth Breaking
Everyone  has their  secrets, but in the spring  of 1974, Mrs. Ruth  Bourne  proved just how extensive  these secrets can  be. She gave the book The Bletchley  Park Circle  to her husband,  he then  replied,  “That’s  interesting,  dear, what’s  for tea?” And despite Mrs. Bourne’s  husband’s causal  response, the work that Mrs. Bourne  along  with  thousands  of other British  completed  in  a top- secret war effort  that remained  under  wraps long  after  the end of the war, was anything  but
ordinary.  These women  worked at Bletchley  Park, which  housed the British  code breaking operations  during  World War II. At its peak approximately  10,000 civilians,  8,000 of whom were women  tackled the complex  task of deciphering  and analyzing  the intelligence  derived
from  enemy  radio signals  Not only  did the workers of Bletchley  Park contribute  to intelligence efforts  that aided the allied  nations,  but also the techniques  developed  at Bletchley  Park played  a major role in  the Cold War and in many  cases still  remain  relevant. So let’s start by breaking  the code of the history  of Bletchley  Park and the amazing  story of how this  huge  and important  operation  impacted  World War II. Then  we will  decipher  the women  who were not only  essential  to the intelligence  efforts  at Bletchley  Park but who were able to keep their  work secret for decades after  the war ended. And finally  we will  reveal  some of the interesting  encryptions  of how the work that started at Bletchley  Park that lived  beyond WWII.


Nazi military  intelligence  developed what became known  as enigma,  a code that no one understood,  produced by a machine  that no one had ever seen and with  a range  of possible inscriptions  that were utterly  unimaginable.  Enigma  used rotors to scramble  messages  into
unintelligible  cypher  text. While  researching  this  topic, I came across Marc Tessier  and James Sanderson  of S and T Geotronics  in   Georgia  that are currently  making  exact replicas  of the enigma  machine  (in  order to promote  education,  cryptology  and  gaming.)  I was dismayed  to (realize)  discover  that these working  scale models  $1000 dollars,  I then  emailed  the company. And they graciously  agreed to loan me an enigma  machine  for the next two weeks free of charge. I had to promise  my  parents this  morning   that I wouldn’t  drop it. So in addition  to seeing  a picture  of the enigma,  we’re able to see the actual  size  of this  machine  (actually  looked like  in WWII.)
Finding  the Key settings  for each network  – which  were reset at midnight  every  day  –was the chall enge  faced by the Code breakers.  The standard 3 rotors Enigma  was capable of being  set to  approximately  159,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible   combinations—and  no I didn’t sutter,  that’s 18 zeros. What’s important  about the enigma  machine  is that as you can  see it was
portable, meaning  the Nazi military  could  use it from  any location  of the battlefield.


According  to the book, The Bletchley  Park Code Breakers, Before WWII, militaries  used fixed  lines  to deliver  messages,  but at the start of WWII they began  usi ng  radio technology  to spread messages  faster.  Thanks  to Britain’s  exceptional  radio engineers  their  receivers  could pick up messages  from  farther  away. Thankfully,  the Germans  were unaware  of this  new development in reception.  With  this  advance  in retriev ing  of encoding  messages,  a hidden  army,  mostly  made up of young  civilian  women,  engaged  in a shadowing  struggle  for Nazi military  intelligence.  But how did this  English  Estate become the site of one of the most important  intelligence  efforts  of
WWII? According  to the book, The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There, the estate was conveniently located within  easy walking  distance  of  Bletchley  railway  station.  In addition,  this  station  was on the line  between the cities  of Oxford and Cambridge.   The universities  in these two cities provided  the mathematicians  and scientists  needed to break this  complicated  code.


The intelligence  efforts  at BP quickly  out grew the space of the main  estate house;  in Gwendoline  Page’s memoir,  We Kept the Secret, she explains  that messages  sent by the German forces in  Morse code were intercepted  by radio and they were dispersed at Ble tchley  to specific ‘Huts’, depending  on where the messages  had come from.  And as we can see from  this complicated  map, the number  of facilities  on the BP estate were quite  extensive.  It was in Huts 3,6,4 and 8 that the highly  effective  Enigma  decrypt teams  worked. The huts operated in  pairs and, for security  reasons, were known only  by their  numbers.  For example,  the code breakers concentrating  on the Army  and Air Force cyphers  were based in  Hut 6, supported by a team in the neighboring  Hut 3 who turned the   deciphered  messages  into  intelligence  reports. Hut 8 decoded messages  from  the German  Navy, with  Hut 4 the associated  naval  intelligence  hut.

Now that we’ve deciphered  the history  of Bletchley  Park, let’s break the code on the women  who were essential  to the intelligence  efforts  that took place there. The experience  at Bletchley  Park can best be described as unique.  And according  to The Bletchley  Park Code
breakers, women  out numbered  men 3 to 1 at BP but unlike  the civilian  world of the 1940s they were  not placed in  support roles.   The women  made significant  contribution  to the code breaking.   
But who are these women  that are credited with  shortening  WWII by two to four years? 90- year- old Becky Webb, who joined  the war effort  at age 18 in  1941. While  some decoders were trained  in mathematics  and approached cryptography  from  a technical  angle,  she reports using  a ‘psychological  approach Webb recalled  that “the Germans  tested the day’s setting  by using  their  girlfriends  names  or dirty  words…It was a great  shame  when  they were stopped, as we enjoyed the dirty  words.”
Mavis  Lever Batey,  age all  of 19 was one of the BP cryptologists  that cracked the Italian Enigma  coding  system.  She recalls  that one of the questions  that were asked of new recruits  in training   was taken from  Alice  in  Wonderland:   Which  way does the clock go round?   If you were stupid  enough  to answer ‘clockwise’  you would  be told —- not if  you are the clock.   This  response summed  up the work the new recruits  would  do at BP —— they would  all  have  to be prepared to
think  in a different  way.

But life  at Bletchley  wasn’t  all  decoding,  there was down time  too when  this  large number  of people needed something  to do while  they  were not at work.   The recreational  life  at BP was busy  and exciting.  The  park’s Recreational  club included  a library,  drama club,  music
and choral  societies,  bridge  groups,  fencing  competitions  and Scottish  dancing  clubs.   And yes, there was romance.  One interesting  twist  is that these couples  were not allowed  to share confiden tial  information  with  one another.   Having  signed  the Official  Secrets Act, the workers at BP kept their  vow of silence  until  they were given  clearance  thirty  years after the war. But for many  of the young  women  at Bletchley,  the removal  of the clandestine  veil  came too late, with
the majority  of workers’ parents and in some cases spouses having  passed away before their decryption  effort  became public  knowledge.
Now that we’ve covered the history  of Bletchley  Park and talked about the women  who worked there, let’s  investigate  encryptions  that tell  us about BP’s legacy.


One important  achievement  was the development  of Colossus.  This  was the world’s first electronic  digital   computer  that was at all  programmable.  In fact, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary  of when  Colossus  successfully  broke the Italian  Enigma  for the first  time.
Colossus  was designed  by the engineer  Tommy  Flowers  to solve  a problem  posed by mathematician  Max Newman  at the  Government  Code and Cypher  School  at  Bletchley  Park.
This  computer  was huge  about the  size  of this  room —- weighing  5 tons. According  to a journal article  in The Annals  of the History  of Computing,  Colossus  is the real source of the computer technologies  that we use today.
The first  Colossus  was assembled  in  Hut 9 but eventually  there were  10 colossi  built  on site with  an estimated  550 Bletchley  Park team members  needed to operate them.  But like  all  of the other break through  developments  of Bletchley  Park, colossus  was keep secret for 30 years.
Even  though  the machines  were destroyed  at the end of the war, a replica  was erected at Bletchley  Park in the mid  1990s and This  replica  is now on display  —- in Hut 9 of course— for public  view  by the 250,000 people who visit  the museum  annually. 
And as WWII gave way to the Cold War, it was vital  that Britain’s  former  ally,  the USSR, should  learn  nothing  of Bletchley  Park’s wartime  achievements  because the developments helped  the US in their  war effort.
But the lasting  mark of Bletchley  Park can be traced to the path it paved for women  in  not only  in  academia,  but also in the work force in  general.  Up until  this  point,  women  were more often  than not placed in support roles in  the work force, but Bletchley  carved a different  path for women.  The accomplishments  that women  at Bletchley  Park completed  showed the world that women  had far more to offer  to the work world  than they  had been credited  for. After  the war, many  of the code breakers went on to take important  positions  in  academia,  business  and politics.
So today, we have looked at the history  of Bletchley,  the people that have  worked there, and its legacy.  And while  Mrs. Bourne’s  husband  was upset about his  afternoon  tea interpreted,  it’s important  for him —and  us—  to remember  that it not been for his  wife’s  work along  with  the work of thousand  of other British  women,  the outcome  of the war would  have been very different—and  indeed  that’s a code worth breaking.

How to use the Open Enigma.

Great client video showing how our Open Enigma Mark 4 is used to encode/decode messages.

Listen to Don as he explains how to use our Open Enigma. We could not have described it ourselves any better…

Productive evening…

After a rather unproductive week-end (lots of Olympics…), tonight we have been very productive and caught up a bit on our progress.

We have close to 6 boxes made of fine hard Cherry wood ready to be mortised & receive their signature lock. After that, we can finally sand & varnish. Two important steps before we can populate theses boxes with the electronics components that make up an Open Enigma…

We expect the Kickstarter to launch within 30 days…

Busy Week-end!

Since the last post, we put a few coats of Polyurethane with light sanding between each coat. We also drilled a square USB hole to access the Arduino Mega USB port through the inside box, and affixed the German Merkplat label.

We tweaked the plugboard & added all 26 female Banana jacks and put a drop of Nail polish on every single nut to ensure there won’t be any movement.

Next, we will will stain & install the handle and make all 10 plugboard jumpers using steampunk type cloth covered period accurate wiring & male banana jumpers.

We expect to be completed with this hand-crafted commission and be able to ship it by the end of this week.

A touch of band sanding and manual sanding yielded us a super professional looking box. We are particularly proud of our “convertible” design: just like the Germans who could remove their Enigma M4 from its box to insert it in the proper cubby hole on the U-boat, we have created an inner box that can be extracted from the outer box if desired. Doing this will also reveal the USB port to the Duino. (40 hours).

Next is the important steps of staining, varnish, sanding, repeat, etc.

Started tonight the important process of staining, varnish, sanding, repeat, etc.

After that, we will be able to decorate the box with a period authentic look, adding a handle, label and plaques,

Our client requested a plug board so we are in the process of (re)designing this.

 We strive to always exceed our client(s) expectations:
They say that true craftsmanship is about the process of being intimately involved with the making of a product that is well-made, long-lasting, attractive and/or desirable. Another identifying factor of true craftsmen is their interest in the process of creating. The focus is on the product, the creative process, and how much we enjoy it.

The ironic part it that the brain of the product (the Electronics) takes only a few hours to create while the container, if done right, can take up to a week…

Stay tuned as we get closer to the finished product.

For this client, we selected Poplar as this is a quality wood that is similar to what the German used pre World War 2.

We bought two 8’ planks and using our Radial Arm saw, ripped both of them to the desired width. We then cross cut them to the specified length of each part. Using a Dado blade (datto), we grooved some edges to receive the hinges later. We then used the router to mill a few pieces to receive the half mortise lock. The drill press took care of creating our counter sink holes exactly where they were needed so we could screw all pieces together.