Welcome to the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation. The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

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Polish mathematicians & code breakers made the first breakthroughs against Nazi Germany's Enigma code.......

1943: GC & CS activated Heath Robinson Machine (predecessor to Colossus).

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
1943: GC & CS activated Heath Robinson Machine (predecessor to Colossus).

1 May 1943: GC&CS activated the Heath Robinson Machine (predecessor to Colossus). It had a frame onto which two teleprinter paper tapes were mounted -- weaving their way through a convoluted network of reels -- and read optically; a rack containing counters, and another rack for valved logic circuits. The machine was an effective prototype, and paved the way for creation of the Colossus, which swapped the tape used in the Heath Robinson machine for an electronic system.

The machine was named after Heath Robinson - a British cartoonist and illustrator best known for designing fantastically complicated machines. To describe something as Heath Robinson-esque is to describe an invention that is simultaneously ingenious, extremely complicated, and makeshift. One of Robinson's illustrations is featured here - the pancake-making machine!

Learn more via the WIRED article by Olivia Solon linked below.

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THIS MONTH on the

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  • Birthday of cryptologic machine designer Edward Hebern. Hebern's five-rotor cipher machine is cryptologically significant as part of the overall evolution in U.S. manufactured rotor devices. The National Cryptologic Museum has two very rare five-rotor Hebern cipher machines in its collection.

About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.