Talk:Lorenz cipher

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Lorenz cipher:
  • Complete the description of the generation of the keystream
  • Add a logical diagram showing how the 10 wheels interact to form the keystream
  • State what the machine is named after
Priority Lorenz SZ 40/42

Page name[edit]

This page certainly must be renamed to Lorenz cipher

 -- JidGom 11:15, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I created a redirect instead. MattH 00:41, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I agree with JidGom, so I will move it. It seems that common names should be article titles, while technical (eg, binomial nomenclature) names should be bolded in the article. Feel free to move back if you disagree, since I am not familiar with the subject of this article anyway. JianLi 17:07, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Oops I messed up! I moved it to Lorenz Cipher. Can an admin move it to Lorenz cipher? JianLi 17:18, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Cipher vs Cyper[edit]

This is wrong. Cypher is not even a word (but it's the name of a character in the movie The Matrix ;-)) and is spelled cipher all over the article. That's a typo that hasn't been caught soon enough. Just rename that damn article.

 -- JidGom 08:25, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Cypher is a mainly British variant of cipher. We don't change such spellings. -- Someone else 08:32, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Hey, all. The cypher v cipher question has had a considerable airing at Talk:Cryptography. Some changes were made in the WP spelling list to accomodate both, and their variants. *y* is indeed mostly British and probably being displaced in favor of *i*, but both are still in live use, and so acceptable spelling. Since this is English, in which marine animals with fins may be legimately spelled ghoti, in GBS' famous example, Ms Fidditch was and remains a little out of step with the actual language. So is (eternally) Nero Wolfe. Until god intervenes and cleans up English orthography, we're just going to have to live with the long ago decision to start writing the language before the phonemic shifts more or less finished. Insanity, of course, but sanctioned by custom. Did Burke approve? ww 16:59, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I know the policy is to allow both spellings (look, cypher is not a british variant, ok? Even us Brits think it looks archaic), but for consistency, I'm ignoring that and changing it to cipher... mwahahaha --Birkett

Many people have chosen to use this spelling. Respect that Mintguy (T)
Ok, I'm sorry. I've stopped now. Birkett 17:51, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Sigh. People once upon a time chose to use this spelling; however, nobody uses the "cypher" spelling any more when writing about cryptography (have a look at the booklist at Wikipedia:WikiProject Cryptography/Cipher vs Cypher). The only reason we have it on Wikipedia at all is because a major contributer (User:Ww) uses it. — Matt 23:37, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Well, if it's largely one person who uses it, can't a vote be held or something like that? Then if the majority of people who are involved actually do prefer cipher, I can help change it again... Birkett
Ahem. May I point you all at this page, which is an image reproduction of the relevant page from the GC&CS Cryptographic Dictionary (1944), where you may find the following entry (reproduced verbatim):
CYPHER: see cipher.
I believe this is fairly conclusive? Mr. Alan Turing himself has spoken! :-) Noel (talk) 21:00, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Was Colossus a computer[edit]

The Colossus was not a "programmable computer" as we think of them; in Brian Randall, Colossus: Godfather of the Computer he writes:

"there is no question of it being an actual stored program computer." (emphasis his)

So I will tweak that sentence to more accurately describe it. Noel (talk) 03:47, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

By the way, where might I find the above reference by Randall? (I'm trying to build up my Colossus reading list). — Matt Crypto 19:24, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It's alright, found it on Colossus computer. — Matt Crypto 19:41, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yah, I didn't want to spam references over every page in sight; some do naturally fall onto more than one page, but in general I'm trying to keep them reasonable in length.
PS: This whole "was Colossus a computer" thing is something I want to go into more, but I will do so at Talk:Colossus computer. Noel (talk) 21:00, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Draft Diagram[edit]

Draft diagram

Hi, I've hacked together a draft logical diagram of the Lorenz machine using Inkscape. Any comments? (I'd like to find an actual Wikipedia illustrator to render the final version of the diagram). — Matt Crypto 14:29, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Apparently the value of this break was higher than that of Enigma's.[edit]

This article doesn't mention the fruits resulting from the decipher. Imagine Reason (talk) 02:08, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Gil Hayward[edit]

Gil Hayward's obituary says he "proved crucial to the successful development of Tunny and Colossus."

Can someone with a better knowledge add some details? JRPG (talk) 21:31, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

See: Hayward, Gil (1993), "Operation Tunny", in Hinsley, F.H.; Stripp, Alan, Codebreakers: The inside story of Bletchley Park, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 175 – 192, ISBN 978-0-19-280132-6  --TedColes (talk) 16:01, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

No Colossus computers survived[edit]

Rebuilding Colossus"In 1993 I gathered together all the information available. This consisted of eight wartime photographs taken of Colossus in 1945 plus some fragments of circuit diagrams which some engineers had kept quite illegally, as engineers nearly always do. The original drawings of the mechanical assemblies had been deliberately burnt in 1960." So there was no remaining Colossus to work from after the order for them to be deliberately dismantled, for some odd reason. The idea was to remove all trace, it's established there was a need to work from diagrams and there is no mention that any were kept for any amount of time, which would be surprising if Prime Minister Winston Churchill specifically ordered the Colossus computers to be destroyed.Overagainst (talk) 18:17, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Two of the Colossus machines were taken over by GCHQ and moved to Eastcote in April 1946. They were again moved to Cheltenham between 1952 and 1954. They were decommisioned in 1959 and 1960 respectively. This is all fully documented and cited over at Colossus. Enough fragments of circuits (most of which were found in the US) survived that the machine could be rebuilt. The major problem was the optical tape reader for which there were no drawings. Fortunately, at the time of the rebuild, Doctor Arnold Lynch (the original designer) was still alive and was able to design it again to hos own specification. –LiveRail Talk > 11:55, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Surviving machines[edit]

There is only one machine at Bletchley Park, which is in loan from GCHQ. The US National Cryptologic Museum page makes no reference to a Lorenz machine. Is there really one there as well as their Enigmas? --TedColes (talk) 08:12, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

@TedColes: The Colossus machine at Bletchley Park is not a surviving machine from anywhere and is not on loan from GCHQ or anyone else. Both of the machines taken to GCHQ originally were decommisioned and destroyed in 1959 and 1960 respectively. The machine on display at Bletchley Park is a complete new build. Most of the electronic circuitry was found in engineer's notebooks (substantial parts in America). Some parts had to be redesigned from scratch, most notably the optical reader mechanism.
That the US National Cryptologic Museum fails to mention Lorenz does not mean that it did not exist. Bletchley Park displays several versions of the Lorenz cypher attachment (as it was officially known). –LiveRail Talk > 11:19, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
This article is about the Lorez cipher - it is that machine, the Lorenz cypher attachment, which is on loan from GCHQ, but I think there is only one. You are right about Colossus. --TedColes (talk) 11:39, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
@TedColes: My mistake. It's been a few years since I have been to Bletchley park. Having just dug up the photographs that I took, I can confirm that Bletchley Park has (or had when the photographs were taken) at least two Lorenz cypher attachments. I have two photographs of what are clearly different machines as the backgrounds and surrounding material are completely different. –LiveRail Talk > 16:46, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
The photo in the article is of the machine on display at Bletchley Park - I saw it there about a fortnight ago. I am fairly confident that it is the only one. Is it possible that your two photos are of the same machine, one with the cover on and one with it off? There are a number of other machines there, Typex for example--TedColes (talk) 20:26, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Typex and Lorenz are completely different machines (and not even related). Photos definitely of two different Lorenz machines. If only one is currently on display, it is always possible that they have the other in storage somewhere. Few museums display their entire inventory. –LiveRail Talk > 16:30, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Are we writing an encyclopedia or setting puzzles?[edit]

Article states, "The SZ42A and SZ42B models had additional complexity to this [SZ40] mechanism, known at Bletchley Park as Limitations.".

Since this is meant to be an encyclopedia, how about telling the reader what these complexities were rather than leave him wondering. I actually came to this article to find out what these differences were. I was to be disappointed. (talk) 16:40, 19 December 2014 (UTC)


An anonymous editor has added some detail to the lead which duplicates material later in the article and which is of poor grammar. He or she has also included links in a heading which is against WP:LINKSTYLE. I shall revert it again and invite the editor to discuss the matter here.--TedColes (talk) 17:59, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Discovery of machine in the news[edit]

On the BBC News text articles and elsewhere eg [1]- a machine has been discovered in a shed.

Does this warrant a mention in the article or here just on the talk page? Jackiespeel (talk) 09:59, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

The machine that was discovered was a Lorenz teleprinter that was used by the German military, not a SZ42. It is now on display in the "Tunny" gallery at The National Museum of Computing next to the SZ42 that is on loan from the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum --TedColes (talk) 17:00, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
Things tend to get simplified in the (reading of) news text articles. (How many 'bits of interesting equipment' surface as a result of such stories?) Jackiespeel (talk) 09:33, 1 June 2016 (UTC)


Why 'Tunny'? Anything to do with boxing champion Gene Tunney? Or the variant of tuna? Or just a word that no one would know? Nick Barnett (talk) 23:59, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

Variant of Tuna, see: Hinsley, F.H. “An Introduction to Fish.” Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park. Eds. F.H. Hinsley & Alan Stripp. Oxford Univeristy Press, 1993 p141.--TedColes (talk) 15:33, 18 August 2016 (UTC)