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Rotor machines
Rotor-based cipher machines

Below is an overview of electromechanical cipher machines in which the alphabet is transposed multiple times, by means of electric current, flowing through moving rotors or cipher wheels 1 with scrambled wiring, resulting in a poly-alphabet substitution cipher. The wheels are commonly moved on each key-press. This process is known as wheel stepping. After each step, the wiring behaves differently. Some machines exhibit regular stepping, whilst others have a more complex wheel stepping pattern – also known as irregular stepping – which makes them less predictable.

  1. Rotors is a typical American expression. In UK-English, rotors are commonly known as wheels.

Electromechanical rotor machines on this website
Enigma cipher machines
SIGABA cipher machines
British wheel-based TYPEX cipher machines
Combined Cipher machine
Siemens T-52 Geheimschreiber
Lorenz SZ-40/42 cipher machine
Swiss NEMA (replacement for Enigma K)
M-130 (Koralle) meteorologic cipher machine
Fialka M-125 cipher machines
KL-7 rotor-based cipher machine (USA)
Hagelin HX-63 rotor-based cipher machine
OMI-Nistri (Italia)
British electromechanical cipher machine (hybrid between Hagelin M-209 and Enigma G)
BID/60 British electromechanical wheel-based cipher machine, similar to the US KL-7
B-21, Hagelin's first cipher machine
B-211, the successor to the B-21
Russian copy of the Hagelin B-221
M-130 (Koralle) meteorologic cipher machine
T-204 (Wolna) telegraphy encryptor
T-205 (Wecha) telegraphy encryptor
Telekrypto-Gerät 35, developed by Edgar Gretener (Gratag) and Boris Hagelin.
One of the first electro-mechanical cipher machines build by Gretener
Cipher machine that uses air instead of electric current
Traditionally, the smaller mechanical cipher machines from Hagelin (Crypto AG) do not belong to this class of machines, despite the fact that they contain moving rotors. Instead, they are a class of their own, which is known as the pin-and-lug cipher machines, or pinwheel machines.

Further information
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Wednesday 21 February 2018. Last changed: Monday, 24 January 2022 - 17:09 CET.
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