Homepage
Crypto
Index
Glossary
Enigma
Hagelin
Fialka
Nema
Voice
Hand
OTP
EMU
Mixers
Phones
FILL
Codebooks
Algorithms
USA
USSR
UK
Yugoslavia
Ascom
AT&T
Bosch
Datotek
Gretag
HELL
ITT
Motorola
Mils
OMI
Philips
Racal
Siemens
STK
Tadiran
Telsy
Teltron
Transvertex
TST
Spy radio
Burst encoders
Intercept
Covert
Radio
PC
Telex
People
Agencies
Manufacturers
• • • Donate • • •
Kits
Shop
News
Events
Wanted
Contact
About
Links
   Click for homepage
Caesar Box
Strip cipher

One of the basic encryption methods is the so-called substitution cipher. In its simplest form, it is commonly knows as the Caesar Cipher as it was first used by the Roman Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar (13 July 100 BC - 15 March 44 BC). He decided that in his messages, each letter would be shifted 3 positions to the right (i.e. A becomes D, B becomes E, etc.). For this reason, the Caesar Cipher is also known as a Shift Cipher, as the ciphertext is derived from the plaintext by shifting each letter a fixed number of positions. Many variants of the shift cipher have been developed.

At the height of the Cold War, cipher experts and codebreakers in many western countries were trained by the army. As part of their training, they had to learn the basic skills of shift ciphers, substitution ciphers, and variations thereof.

A beautiful example is the so-called Caesar Box shown in the image on the right. It was made by the Dutch Army – probably in the early 1970s – for training purposes [1]. The box consists of a wide variety of alphabet strips; white strips with the Latin alphabet and yellow strips with Cyrillic. Blank strips are used for scrambled alphabets.
  
The contents of the Caesar Box

Each strip contains the alphabet twice, to allow for wrapping at the end of the alphabet. The letters are printed in black, but the high-frequency letters are printed in red. As the frequency distribution of the letters is different for each language, spearate sets of strips are supplied, covering the common western languages. A set of 15 alphabet strips can be placed in a special transparent holder, allowing the strips to be moved from left to right, in a similar manner to a slide ruler. For this reason, such systems are sometimes referred to as alphabet slide rulers.

Note that Caesar Box is just a nickname for the wooden instruction box featured on this page. It should not be confused with the Caesar Box Cipher, which is another cipher method that works by writing out the text in a matrix and then reading out the matrix in a different direction [3].

The closed Caesar Box First peek inside the box The contents of the Caesar Box The slide ruler with 15 alphabet strips Close-up of the slide ruler Close-up of a standard (Latin) alphabet strip Close-up of a yellow Cyrillic alphabet strip Blank alphabet strip
A
×
A
1 / 8
The closed Caesar Box
A
2 / 8
First peek inside the box
A
3 / 8
The contents of the Caesar Box
A
4 / 8
The slide ruler with 15 alphabet strips
A
5 / 8
Close-up of the slide ruler
A
6 / 8
Close-up of a standard (Latin) alphabet strip
A
7 / 8
Close-up of a yellow Cyrillic alphabet strip
A
8 / 8
Blank alphabet strip

References
  1. Dutch Department of Defense, Defensie Inlichtingen en Veiligheids Instituut (DIVI)
    Caesar Box courtesy of DIVI, donated in 2010.

  2. Wikipedia, Julius Caesar
    Retrieved July 2017.

  3. wikiHow, Caesar Box Code Example
    Retrieved July 2017.
Further information
Any links shown in red are currently unavailable. If you like the information on this website, why not make a donation?
Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 12 March 2010. Last changed: Saturday, 08 July 2017 - 08:20 CET.
Click for homepage