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Enigma Lamps
Flattened filament light bulbs

An Enigma machine has small - rather unusual - lamps on its lamp panel. These lamps have a common E10 fitting, but the glass balloon is somewhat flattened. The diagram below shows it in comparison with an common spherical bulb. The one on the left is a standard E10 lamp with a spherical (round) balloon. On the right are the flattened lamps that are required for the Enigma. There are two production variants: one that is completely clear, and one that is half-opaque.

Lamps like these were rather common before and during WWII, but are no longer manufactured. The shape is very important as ordinary lamps are slightly higher and will therefore damage the letter film. As the letter film is made of celluloid, it becomes brittle, and breaks and burns easily.


The official specification for the bulb is 3.5V/200mA, but that is not as important as the shape. Lamps in this shape are sometimes found in 2V, 2.2V and 3V versions and they can all be used. The current should not exceed 200mA, as otherwise it could cause sparks between the wheels.

Flattened half-opaque light bulb, with filament clearly visible Flattened half-opaque OSAM light bulb Flattened half-opaque OSAM light bulb Three light bulbs with E10 fitting. The two on the left are flattened. Three light bulbs with E10 fitting. The two on the left are flattened. Flattended Enigma lamp and standard bicycle lamp A collection of real lamps Lamps are sometimes packed together in a box
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Flattened half-opaque light bulb, with filament clearly visible
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Flattened half-opaque OSAM light bulb
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Flattened half-opaque OSAM light bulb
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Three light bulbs with E10 fitting. The two on the left are flattened.
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Three light bulbs with E10 fitting. The two on the left are flattened.
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Flattended Enigma lamp and standard bicycle lamp
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A collection of real lamps
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Lamps are sometimes packed together in a box

Help us find these bulbs
In order to keep the few surviving machines running we need as much lamps as we can find for current and future restoration jobs. If you have any of these lamps left, please contact us.

Alternative sources
  • Don's bulbs
    The 2.25V/250mA MAZDA #223 lamp is a good alternative.

  • Reproduction lamps
    A limited quantity of reproduction lamps have been made available by Glen Miranker via the enigma replica project.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 27 August 2009. Last changed: Friday, 07 July 2017 - 10:13 CET.
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