Code cracker remade

Computers & Mobile Science
Code cracker remade

During World War II, British brainiacs helped save their country and defeat the Nazis. Recently, the equipment they used has been rebuilt and the surviving members got together for a reunion.

The rebuild project appears to be a maker’s delight: code, electronics, old-school manufacturing, and rapid prototyping all wrapped up in a world-changing quest to win the war.

The Bombe was the brainchild of Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, and the 210 machines manufactured by the British Tabulator Machine Company did vital work cracking encoded German military traffic – a feat which shortened the war by two years, Bletchley Park suggests.

The original devices were destroyed after the war on security grounds, but in 1970 a set of blueprints turned up at Bletchley and the idea to reconstruct a Bombe was born. The rebuild team, led by volunteer John Harper, has finally succeeded in putting the beast together:

Nice of them to recover that lost knowledge. Were you involved in the rebuild of the Turing Bombe? Let us know about the experience in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “Code cracker remade

  1. dl7und says:

    The Bomba was developed by Polish mathematicians, the British just refined the concept. Turing was smart, but he was not the father of the Bomba.

  2. Dr_Black says:

    Bletchley Park is arguably the most fundamental, historial site in the UK. The work carried out by the code-breakers and the other 12 000 people who worked there shortened WW2 by two years, possibly saving 22 million lives. It was also the birthplace of the computer. Tommy Flowers and his team invented Colossus: the first programmable computer, there during WW2.

    I urge you to visit Bletchley Park. It is an amazing place, with something for everyone, from The National Museum of Computing, to the Toy Museum, to the Colossus and Bombe rebuilds and much more. Entry is £10 for a pass which gives you a year’s free access to everything on site, remarkable value.

    Bletchley Park is under threat due to lack of funding. There have been several recent funding successes mainly thanks to English Heritage and Milton Keynes council, but Bletchley Park needs another £9 million to survive. Please support the campaign to save Bletchley Park. More details at

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