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Enigma Z
Numbers-only Enigma

The Enigma Z is a rather strange leaf on the Enigma Family Tree. Although it is clearly based on the design of Enigma D, it has only 10 keys and 10 lamps, each marked with the numbers 0 thru 9. It was used for the encryption of numerical messages (i.e. messages that were pre-coded by using, for example, a code book). The letter Z probably stands for Ziffern (numbers).
 
Not much is currently known about this Enigma variant. It is believed that very few were ever built and that these were sold to Sweden and Chile.

They were also offered to the Spanish government in November 1931, but as far as we know, the Spanish did not buy the machine.

It seems that two different versions of the machine were developed, but this has not been confirmed yet:
  • Standard version
    Simple stepping mechanism and settable UKW.

  • Improved version
    Improved cog-wheel driven turnover mechanism, similar to the Zählwerk Enigma. Probably also a moving UKW.
More about these two variants in the text below. Unfortunately, no real photographs of Z30 machines are currently available to us.
  

 
Standard version
This machine had 3 coding wheels with 10 contact points and a single turnover notch each. Furthermore, it had a settable UKW. The wheel stepping mechanism was similar to that of the Enigma D. It is likely that serial numbers started at Z101. It is certain that this machine was built and sold to Sweden [2] .
 
Improved version
In November 1931, the Enigma manufacturer Chiffriermaschinen AG offered a series of Enigma machines, including the Enigma Z, to the Spanish Embassy [1] . The photographs on the hastily translated brochure, however, show a machine with an improved cog-wheel driven turnover mechanism, similar to that of the Zählwerk Enigma. It has a cog-wheel release lever in the top left, which is not present on the standard version.

It is uncertain whether this machine was actually built, but the image in the brochure shows a machine with serial number Z-155 or Z-165 and the wooden lid of that machine is modified to accomodate the cog-wheel release lever. It seems therefore likely that this actually was a production machine and that their serial numbers started at Z-151.
 
Improved Z30 with the lid closed Improved Z30 with the lid open

 
References
  1. Arthuro Quirantes, Model Z: A numbers-only Enigma version
    Cryptologia, April 2004.

  2. Frode Weierud, Enigma History
    Forthcoming publication, expected in 2010.

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Crypto Museum. Last changed: Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 09:24 CET.
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