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article imageEnigma coding machine sells for record amount (includes video)

By Tim Sandle     Nov 15, 2012 in Odd News
A rare Enigma encoding machine, used by Germany in World War II to send secret messages, has sold at auction in London for around $135,000 (£85,250).
The Enigma machine sold for far more than its original estimate, where auctioneers valued it at around $60,000 (£40,000). The machine was sold at the London auction house Bonhams, according to the BBC.
The Enigma machine is a typewriter-like device. The machines are electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines used for the encryption and decryption of secret messages. Enigma was invented by German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I, although they were used more prominently during World War II.
The codes sent by the Enigma machines were eventually broken by British intelligence based at Bletchley Park using a machine called the Bombe. Alan Turing, a Cambridge University mathematician and logician, provided much of the original thinking that led to the design of the cryptanalytical Bombe machines
Interest in machines like the Enigma has been high as this is the centenary year of Alan Turing's birth. Turing was also, as Time Magazine surmises, was highly influential in the development of computer science, giving a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer.
It has not been announced who now owns the device and the winning bid was made over the internet.
For those interested in how the Enigma machine worked, here is a short documentary video which includes a demonstration:
More about Enigma, Alan turing, Bletchley Park
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