- under construction
This part of the Crypto Museum website is dedicated to automatic (digital)
telegraphy by means of large typewrite-style devices using a binary code,
such as the well-known 5-bit Baudot code,
or the 7/8-bit ASCII.
Such systems are often called Teletype machines (after the Teletype brand),
Telex (short for Teleprinter Exchange),
or, abbreviated: TTY.
On this website, we will use the generic name Telex to identify the
above systems. Teleprinter machines could be operated via land lines (TTY)
or via radio (RTTY), mainly using the standard speed of 45.45 baud (USA)
or 50 baud (Europe).
Punched paper tape was used for storing
and (re)transmitting messages.
Although telex has been superceeded by modern computers, some computer
terminal sessions are still called TTY, for example on UNIX-like systems.
Although Telex machines are not cryptographic devices,
many of them were used in combination with external
cipher machines and some even had built-in cryptographic capabilities. For that reason, some telex machines are described on this
website. For a more exhaustive overview of telex machines,
please check out the Telex Museum of Henning Treumann in Germany .
Telex equipment that is described on this website:
For many years, Telex was the de-facto standard for communication
with the Armies world-wide.
It was introduced longe before WWII (in 1849) and lasted until the 1990s.
It was also used by press agencies, governments, large corporations and
by the police. Telex can be employed reliably over (fixed) land lines
as well as over radio (HF). In the past, most countries had their own
Telex network, consisting of decicated land lines and special exchanges,
but towards the 2000s most of them were gradually phased out.
Today, Telex is still used by radio amateurs (Hams).
Although most telex systems use the 5-bit digital
ITA2 code, generally
known the Baudot code,
there are systems that use a less-common standards,
such as the multi-tone COQUELET code,
often used in France,
and the 14-bit ETK standard that was introduced by Gretag in the 1950s.
Such systems were considered more fault-tolerant but never met
In order to keep old Teleprinters running and to be able to demonstrate
the surviving machines, a group of enthusiasts has setup the so-called
TelexPhone project .
It allows telex machines to be connected to a hobbyist telex network
using standard (analogue) telephone lines (POTS).
A customized modem (TxP) has been developed to convert the special Telex
signals into standard modem data, allowing any standard telex machine to
be connected to another telex anywhere in the world, without any
modifications to the equipment at either side. In the future it will
be possible to use the internet as well. A suitable interface (I-Telex)
is currently under development.
Telex machines were developed and produced world-wide by a variety
of manufacturers. Most of these machines were compatible in one way
or another. The initial machines worked at the rather low baud-rate
of 45.45 baud or 50 baud, but later machines were capable of running
at 75, 100 and even speeds up to 150 baud as well. The following manufacturers produced
- Lorenz (SEL)
- TTY (TeleType)
- RTTY (Radio TeleType)
- Telex (Teleprinter Exchange)
- Fernschreiber (German)
- Verreschrijver (Dutch)
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© Copyright 2009-2015, Crypto Museum. Last changed: Tuesday, 17 March 2015 - 16:10 CET