14 November, 2005

British rotor machine: Singlet (BID/60)

It's fun to see more information on rotor machines entering the public domain. For example, the Swiss NEMA machine was declassified in 1992. More recently, lots of information on the Soviet rotor machine Fialka (M-125) has been published on the Internet. There's even been a loosening of information about the US/NATO KL-7 system.

This year, a British rotor machine named Singlet (BID/60) was put on display at Bletchley Park in the superb Enigma and Friends exhibit put together by David White and John Alexander. There doesn't seem to have been much -- if anything -- written about this machine in the open literature.

The caption at Bletchley Park reads: "Singlet was used mainly by the British intelligence services C. 1949 / 50 onwards. This is a `Cold War' machine using wired rotors to achieve secure messages. We are very grateful to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and GCHQ for this opportunity to show `Singlet' here at BP."

Singlet has windows and stepping levers for ten rotors. The rotor tube appears to be a detachable section, labelled BID/60/3, while the base unit is labelled BID/60/1. There is a hint of a connection to the KL-7 in this naming. According to George Mace on Jerry Proc's KL-7 page, the KL-7 components were originally labelled as follows: "the base unit was AFSAM 7/1 (aka KLB), rotor stepping unit AFSAM 7/2 (aka
KLA) and rotor basket AFSAM 7/3 (aka KLK)." The rotor tube, stepping levers and the keyboard are also all somewhat suggestive of some sort of link or common ancestry with the KL-7.

Some photos can be found on Wikipedia/Commons: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

18 Comments:

Blogger Dirk said...

Great! I always love new old stuff. Wounder how much cold war equipment will surface the next years. Looks like an interesting device!

8:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
your pointers to interesting sites are exciting! I bring to you own link to old soviet ciphers, cipher machines to be found at Russian Cryptography History. It consist of excerpts from a book by Sobolyeva, Tainopis v istorii rossii [The Secret Writing in Russian History], Mezdunarodnye otnoshenia, 1994.

8:58 pm  
Blogger Matt Crypto said...

anonymous -- interesting, although the photos of the M-100 and M-211 are a little small to make out much ;-) According to Tom Perera's site, the M-100 was a fore-runner of Fialka (M-125).

11:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The M100 is a One-Time-Punch cipher
mashine. From 1930 Spai-War to 1950
used in CCCP. After this come M-104 and M-105.

The Fialka M125 is a Wheel/Rotor mashine.

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