HEBERN ELECTRIC CODE MACHINE


Patent  # 1,510,441
In the two decades prior to World War II, Edward Hebern (1869-1952) was the first American inventor to make a very significant contribution to cipher machine development. His machines were the first to embody the wired rotor principle of encipherment. Hebern continued to design and build electro-mechanical rotor machines until the eve of World War II. For various reasons, he never managed to secure a large scale contract with the U.S. Government.
 
hebern_electric_code_machine_1.jpg
This machine, featured at the National Cryptologic Museum, was built before 1920 in Hebern's Oakland, California machine shop. The early model had only one rotor. In order to decipher a message, the rotor would be removed and turned around. Later models added more rotors. (Photo by Mark Pellegrini)

Displayed below is Hebern's first rotor machine. Employing a single rotor and beautifully made of solid brass, the machine worked in conjunction with a Remington Model 10 electric typewriter for hard copy
as shown in Hebern's first patent 1,510,441. Part of the crypto machine's mechanism was driven electrically and part by a falling weight and pulley. (Item 52 below, inside 53)
 
 

hebern_1.jpg
Hebern filed the patent for this complete system on March 21, 1921 and it was granted on September 30, 1924. (Image courtesy U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).

 
heben_ machine_in_action.jpg
This photo of the Hebern electric code machine in action was taken in March 1923 at the Western Union Telegram Office in .Washington, D.C . (From a  Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative via Shorpy web site)


Contributor:

1) Mark Sims <holrum(at)hotmail.com>
2) Ralph Simpson <ralphenator(at)gmail.com>
3) Shorpy http://www.shorpy.com/node/15133?size=_original#caption
 

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Apr 24/13