Rare Nazi coding device discovered on eBay gets snapped up for a mere $14

rare nazi coding device discovered on ebay gets snapped up for a mere 14 lorenz teleprinter nmc
The Lorenz teleprinter, via National Museum of Computing
A rare piece of Nazi machinery used by Adolf Hitler to communicate with his generals during World War II has been discovered on eBay.

The device, known as the Lorenz teleprinter, was spotted online by a volunteer at the National Museum of Computing (NMC), which has now successfully purchased it from its owner.

Almost 80 years since it was used to complete an intricate Nazi coding machine known as the Lorenz cipher, a woman in the U.K. suburb of Essex found the teleprinter gathering dust in her shed. Mistaking it for an ancient telegram machine, the owner placed an ad for it on eBay.

Recognizing it as a potential wartime relic, the NMC volunteers got in touch with the seller, driving down to Essex to verify it for themselves. “The person took us down the garden to the shed and in the shed was the Lorenz teleprinter in its original carrying case,” said John Whetter, a volunteer engineer with the museum. The NMC then snapped it up for just £9.50 (about $14).

The artifact’s true value became clear once it was cleaned at the NMC’s site in Bletchley Park. The restoration process led to the discovery of swastika detailing on the device, and even a special key for the runic Waffen-SS insignia, reports the Guardian.

Consequently, the NMC is hoping it can use the teleprinter to complete the Nazi coding device. It has since received a long-term loan of the Lorenz SZ42 cipher machine from the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum in Oslo to aid it in its rebuilding efforts. The NMC has also reached out to the British public to help it find the missing pieces of the machine, in particular its drive motor.

The encoded transmissions sent from the Lorenz cipher during the Second World War are described as even more complicated than the Enigma code. Dubbed the ‘Tunny’ by British cryptographers, the machine’s code was eventually cracked by mathematician Bill Tutte. By January 1942, Tutte’s team of cryptographers deciphered the entire logical structure of the device. The discovery led to the creation of the Colossus, the world’s first programmable computer system, designed by British engineer Tommy Flowers, to determine the wheel positions on the Lorenz Cipher. The Colossus allowed for a crucial deduction in the time taken to decrypt Nazi messages, and is now described by historians as one of the biggest intellectual feats of World War II.

The NMC is hoping to recreate the encryption and decryption method at a special event on Friday.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Mobile

These are the key settings to change on the LG G8 ThinQ smartphone

The LG G8 ThinQ is finally available. There are a lot of settings turned off by default that may be useful in improving the experience of using the phone. We've rounded up 11 key settings for you to change on the G8.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Gaming

Travel in style with our guide to getting the Regalia mount in FFXIV

Final Fantasy XIV is currently running a crossover event with Final Fantasy XV, and the famous Regalia vehicle used by Noctis is part of the fun. Here is how to get the FFXIV Regalia mount.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and others that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

Star gives off superflare equal to 80 billion megatonnes of TNT. That’s a lot

A tiny star the size of Jupiter has been observed giving off a massive superflare 10 times more powerful than any flare from our Sun. The findings are raising questions about how much energy small stars can hold.
Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Emerging Tech

SpaceX experiences problem during test, Crew Dragon capsule may have exploded

SpaceX has experienced a problem during the testing of its Crew Dragon capsule. During the engine test firing at Cape Canaveral yesterday afternoon, an unspecified anomaly occurred which lead to plumes of smoke rising from the test site.
Emerging Tech

Beresheet crash caused by manual command, but reflector device may have survived

Details are emerging about what may have gone wrong with spacecraft Beresheet's failed moon landing. A manual command was entered which led to a chain reaction. But NASA still hopes to salvage use of its Laser Retroreflector Array device.
Emerging Tech

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. But strangely enough, this ancient molecule has never been detected in space before now.
Emerging Tech

Mercury’s wobble as it spins reveals that it has an inner solid core

Scientists have long wondered what the inside of Mercury looks like, and they now have strong evidence that the planet has a large and solid metallic core. The data for the new findings was collected by the now-defunct MESSENGER mission.
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…