I very rarely cover Enigma machines on Cipher Mysteries, mainly because I didn’t think there were many open cipher-related mysteries to do with it (not unless you include the question of why US film-makers apparently feel so compelled to mash up history every time they include Enigmas on camera.).
But it turns out that the two men who (apparently) had the patents for the Enigma design in the 1920s were not the real inventors of the device at all: in fact, the clever principles of modern rotor cryptography were invented by two Dutch naval officers during the First World War. However, when the Dutch Navy refused to proceed with bringing their design to practice, events took a slightly strange turn…
That story – and lots, lots more about Enigma, plus a few early crypto machines – is in the following splendid Google Tech Talk by well-known (and very affable) crypto collector Ralph Simpson, with captions (which you can turn off with the keyboard-like icon just to the left of the settings icon). It’s not often I recommend a 1hr 16min YouTube video, but this is excellent, well worth putting an hour and a bit of your time aside for. Enjoy! 🙂
(If the above embedded video fails to appear for you, here’s a direct link to it instead.)
PS: at 6:49, Ralph holds up a commercial cryptography book which he describes as being from “1988”, but it is of course actually from 1888… just so you know! 😉