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Publication numberUS312665 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 24, 1885
Publication numberUS 312665 A, US 312665A, US-A-312665, US312665 A, US312665A
InventorsDavid E. Smith
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
US 312665 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

4 Sheets-Sheet 1.



(No Model.)

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WITNESS s N. PETERS. Phmcrplmgmphnr. wnsninghm. D, C.

(No Model.)



Patented-Feb. 24, 1885 Z' Z7 Z7 l) Attorney (No Model.) 4 Sheets-Sheet 3.


. CDMBINATION GIPHER MACHINE. NQ. 312,665. Patented Feb. 24, 1885.

mmv 7775 uvw WITfESSES .dttorney (No Model.) 4 Sheets--Sheet 4.


No. 312,665.v Patented Feb. 24,1885` WITNESSELS" @i6 QW 60 Q JI/ENT@ Homey Unitime Smarts Farrar Ormea.


COMBINATION CIPHER-NICHENE- SPECIFICATION' forming part of Letters Patent No. 312,665, dated February 2%,1885

Application filed September l2, 18E-l. (No model.)

To all whom, it may concern.-

Be it known that I, DAVID R. SMITH, of Oohoes, county of Albany, and State of N ew York, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Combination Cipher- Machines, of which the following is a full, clear, and exact description, reference heilig had to the accompanying drawings, making part of this specification.

This invention relates to that class of combination cipher-machines in which series of letters, figures, words, signs, or symbols in regular order, and having their usual, customary, and generallyunderstood significance, are brought into juxtaposition with series of the same or other signs, symbols, or characters capriciously or irregularly arranged in such manner that the latter may be conveniently used as secret characters or ciphers to represent the former in secret correspondence, or for other similar purposes.

The object of theinvention is to provide an improved combination ciphermachine for general use which shall be susceptible of a practically unlimited number of combinations, more so than the combination-locks used to secure the doors of safes and bank-vaults, whereby, no matter how many persons may use this invention, each pair of correspondents may by its aid be provided with acipher-code different from every other such code, and practically impossible to decipher by any one not possessing the key.

For the purposes of this description of my invention I will designate the letters, signs, words, phrases, characters, symbols, &c.,when employed with their usual or customary meaning or significance, as conventional letters, signs, 85e., and the same or other letters, signs, symbols, characters, Jvc., when employed to represent the former, or as representing the former, as cipher letters, words, symbols, kc-that is to say, when given an arbitrary or unusual meaning or signilicance I will designate them as cipher letters, words, iigures,

symbols, &c., or simply as cipher.

My invention consists of a machine in which conventional letters, as the alphabet, or conventional numerals, as l 2 3 et 5 6 7 8 9 0, or other conventional characters, signs, words, symbols, &c., are arranged in their usual or regular order, in a direct line, or in direct or concerted movement of the parts of the ma- 6e chine, brought into juxtaposition.

Vhile for especial purposes any suitable signs, letters, characters, words, symbols, Src., may be employed in my invention, the twentysix letters of our alphabet and the numerals'l 65 2 3 et 5 6 7 S 9 0 will suilice for general purposes.

In the accompanying drawings, Figure 1 is a front elevation of a machine embodying my invention. Fig. 2 is a transverse section through the center of the same. Figs. 3 and 4 illustrate certain modilied details ot' Figs. l and 2. Fig. 5 is the letter cup or box, and Fig. 6 represents a front and an edge View of a letter-block. Fig. 7 is a plan, Fie. s l e elevation, and Fig. 9 details, of a modified form of the machine shown in Figs. l and 2.

In all the figures A is the bed-plate, B the cipher-wheel shai't or axle. a aZ a at, the., are the cipher-wheels fitting loosely on that axle, and having notches bb, which engage the hooked ends of stop springs or pawls c c. C C C are thumb-nuts, which, working in screwthreads eut in the cipher-wheel axle B, clamp the cipher-wheels together, when required, so 85 axle, and F a friction-wheel upon which the adjustable friction-brake G bears, the pressure of said brake being regulated by the adjusting-screw I-I as required. The stop springs or pawls c o project from a bar, f. In Figs. l and 2, the bar fis pivoted to uprights gg, and

In Figs. l 9o IOC) 95 In Fig. l, E is a hand-wheel for turning the against and the latter screwing into the bedplate. By manipulating screwsz' and 7' it is evident that the tension of springs c c can be readily regulated.

In Fig. 7 no means of adjusting or changing the tension or pressure of springs care shown,

as any suitable means may be employed for that purpose.

In Figs. 1 and 2 the broadened ends of the springs c are utilized to carry the conventional signs or characters, which inthis case are the alphabet and numerals, as shown, in a direct line across the faces of the disks a a2 a3 a, &c.; but the spring-pawls c c may be placed in a different position, or may be suitably modified in form,and a straight-edge or blade, I, be employed to carry the conventional characters, Src.

The blade I in Fig. 3 is provided with lugs 0r projections Z, by which it may be secured to the bed-plate A. In Figs. 7 and S the blade or straight-edge I is divided in two parts, I/ I2, to avoid the employment of other -ten wheels or disks (1 to correspond to the numerals. The same economy of wheels or disks a may be effected, if desirable, in Figs. 1 and 2, by the use of an independent straight-edge, I2, for the numerals-that is, by dividing up the straight-edge I in that gure and using twenty-six, instead' of thirty-six, wheels or disks a. In Figs. 7 and 8 the blade I is carried loosely between the thumb-nut C and a washer, m, as is clearly shown in Figs. 8 and 9, and at its outer extremity the blade I bends around the outer edge-of a steady-disk, '.I, and carries a thumb-screw, K, by which it may be'tightened and` held stationary, or loosened to swing around the faces of the disks or wheels a, a, from one to another of the radially-disposed lines of cipher letters or characters on the disks or wheels a. Upon the faces of all the wheels or disks a, as in Fig. 1, or near the outer edges of the wheels or disks a, as in Fig. 7, the cipher letters, signs, symbols, or characters, Snc., are arranged.

In the examples shown in the drawings, and for general use, I employ as signs, characters, symbols, Src., the twenty-six letters of our alphabet only; but any suitable characters or symbols, words or signs ma-y be employed for general or especial cases or purposes.

In the drawings only a part of the letters are shown. All the wheels or disks a in Fig. 1 are exactly alike, and each has a full alphabet on its face, all the letters of which are arranged in regular order and evenly spaced from a to z, the letters of the first twenty-six disks corresponding as ciphers to the letters of the alphabet, as conventionally employed, and shown in the direct or straight line across the faces of the disks a, and the letters on the other ten disks corresponding as ciphers to the numerals 1 2 3 et 5 6 7 8,9 0 in a similar` manner.

In Fig. 7 the wheels or disks a-onl y twenty-A six in number-are lettered in similar order; but to reduce the number of wh eels from thirtysix to twenty-six the letters brought into juxtaposition with the conventional numerals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 on the blade or straight-edge I2 are used as cipher-characters representing these numerals.

The letter-blocks and letter-cup shown in Figs. 5 and 6 are convenient for' the purpose of selecting series of letters by chance when using my invention. The letter-blocks are any small disks or. pieces of convenient size and form upon which the letters ofthe alphabet appear.

Iwill describe a simple manner lof using my invention. Let us suppose that a merchant, X, of a certain city, having the machine as shown in Fig. 1, wishes to carry on a secret correspondence with another merchant, Y,. who resides in some other city, and who also Vis provided with an exactly similar machine. The first thing required is that X and Y agree upon a cipher-alphabet, which shall be a key with which to set the machine. This can be ldone by chance very conveniently with the aid of the letter-cup and letter-blocks shown in Figs. 5 and 6. 'Ihey may shake the twentysix letter-blocks in the letter-cup and throw them out on the table, as shown in Fig. 5, then select the letters` by chance, or as they. come,` thus forming a key-cipher alphabet. Then return the letter-blocks to the letter-cup and shake the latter again and select ten more letters to serve as cipher-numerals. Let us sup'- pose that the cipher letters and numerals selected byX andYare Zvfpgh mrswu tj k n b Z o q d x a i c e y for the twenty-six letters, and o g m d Z yc k f r for the ten numerals. Let itbe agreed between X and Y that the cipher-alphabet shall be changed for every word written in any secret communication between them. Then, to use the machine to write or to read the'written cipher the machine must be set, as shown in Fig. 1, with the key-cipher alphabet and numerals forming a straight line in juxtaposition with the conventional alphabet and numerals, as shown in that figure.

To write, as by agreement, between X and Y, the Iirst word would be written with the key-cipher alphabet shown in Fig. 1, the wheels having been previously clamped firmly together between washers p, by screwing up the thumb-nuts C C after setting the disks, asl shown. To write the second word, X or Y would move all the disks together one letter IOO IIO

edge I'z dees not require anykey, it being governed by I', and therefore the key-alphabet of such an instrument would consist o'f twentysiX letters only.

To use this invention for carrying on secret correspondence between parties at a distance, it is necessary that both parties have machines exactly alikein practical detail, that the alphabetical key or some other key be agreed upon to set the instruments alike and to govern the changes to be made when using the machines, either in writing or deciphering a secret communication; but it is evident that the number of combinations and changes possible is limited only by the permutations of which the alphabet employed is susceptible; and having given one of the mostsimple ways of using this invention it is evident that every one using it can select his own methods in the way of deciding on an alphabet,or selecting a key,or in changing the cipher or the signieance of the cipher used.

By preparing a code in which a few letters represent many words and using the conventional letters to represent such "words and the cipher-letters to represent the conventional letters a great many words may be communicated in perfect secrecy with a very few cipherletters. For example, let a key-book be prepared in which write one thousand phrases numbered from 1 to 1,000. Then itis evident that any one of these phrases may be communicated with from one to 'four cipher-letters representing the number of the prase.

In manufacturing my cipher-machine for sale for general use the thirty-siX-disk machine should be provided with an extra blade or straight-edge, l2, so arranged as to correspond in position with the blade I2 on twentysiX-disk machines, so that not only all twentysix-disk machines will correspond with each other, but the iirst twenty-six disks of the thirty-six-disk machines having the blades I and l2, or the equivalents of such blades, will virtually constitute a twenty-six-wheel machine.

To distinguish between the cipher-letters representing conventional letters and those representing conventional numerals, any convenient sign agreed upon may be employed, such as simply underlining the numerals.

Having now described my invention,I claim as new- 1. A combination cipher-machine havinga series of adjustable coaxial disks orwheels, a,

and supports or edges carrying or holding a line of letters, figures, characters, or symbols crossing the faces of said disks or wheels, substantially as described.

2. A, combination cipher-machine having a series of adjustable coaxial disks or wheels, a,

provided with suitable letters, characters,

figures, or symbols on their faces, or near their periphery, and a line of suitable characters, letters,tigures, or symbols arranged across the faces of said disks or wheels on suitable supports or edges, substantially as described.

3. In a combination cipher-machine, a series of adjustable coaxial disks or Wheels, a, carrying suitable letters, igures, characters, or symbols, in combination with a suitable nut or nuts. C, on the threaded axle of said disks or wheels, for clamping the latter together for simultaneous adjustment, substantially as described.

4. In a combination cipher-machine, a series of notched and adjustable coaxial disks or wheels, a, carrying suitable letters, gures, characters, or symbols, in combination with a suitable nut or nuts for clamping said disks or wheels together on their axle for simultaneous adjustment, and a suitable yielding retaining pawl or pawls, c, engaging said disks or wheels and holding them at the desired adjustment, substantially as described.

In a combination cipher-machine, the combination of a series of adjustable coaxial disks or wheels for carrying the letters, gnres, characters, or symbols to be used for the cipher-s, a support or supports for conventional letters, tgures, characters, or symbols arranged in a line or lines across the faces of said disks or wheels, a nut or nuts for clamping said disks or wheels together on acommon axle, and a suitable pawl or pawls for holding said disks or wheels at the desired adjustmcnt, substantially as described.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto setv my hand this 10th day of September, A. D. 1884.


Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2621424 *May 2, 1947Dec 16, 1952Murray Alan RCryptographic system and apparatus
US2688198 *Jan 9, 1951Sep 7, 1954Neff Sidney LCoding device
US2866274 *Nov 4, 1954Dec 30, 1958C A D A C Compania Argentina DCryptographic device
US6055635 *Aug 24, 1995Apr 25, 2000Karlsson; LeifMethod and device for facilitating access to a multitude of alphanumeric sequences
US6253328 *Feb 12, 1998Jun 26, 2001A. James Smith, Jr.Method and apparatus for securing passwords and personal identification numbers
US6571336Oct 4, 2001May 27, 2003A. James Smith, Jr.Method and apparatus for securing a list of passwords and personal identification numbers
US7036016Apr 8, 2003Apr 25, 2006Smith Jr A JamesMethod and apparatus for securing a list of passwords and personal identification numbers
Cooperative ClassificationG09C1/04