Heath Robinson (codebreaking machine)

Heath Robinson (Codebreaking Machine)

Heath Robinson (codebreaking machine)

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Heath Robinson was a machine used by British codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War II to solve messages in the German teleprinter cipher used by the Lorenz SZ40/42 cipher machine; the cipher and machine were called "Tunny" by the codebreakers, who named different German teleprinter ciphers after fish. It was the predecessor to the electronic Colossus computer. It was dubbed "Heath Robinson" by the Wrens who operated it, after cartoonist William Heath Robinson, who drew immensely complicated mechanical devices for simple tasks, similar to Rube Goldberg in the USA.

The machine was designed by Max Newman. C. E. Wynn-Williams designed the electronic counters, and engineers at the Post Office Research Station engineered other parts of the machine. Current encrypted traffic was read for the first time in July 1942.

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