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Hagelin
Pin-wheel
Mixer
OTT
  
CX-52/30 →
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C-52/30   Arab
30-character version of C-52 - this page is a stub

C-52/30 1 was a mechanical pin-and-lug cipher machine, developed around 1952 by the Swede Boris Hagelin and manufactured by Crypto AG in Zug (Switzerland). It is the 30-character variant of the standard 26-character C-52, and was intended for alternative languages, such as Arabic (as featured on this page). It should be considered the less-secure version of the CX-52/30.

Like the standard C-52, this machine has six removable and pin-configurable cipher wheels, each with a different coprime number of steps, plus a rotating cage, or drum, with sideways movable bars with configurable tabs, or lugs.

The main difference with the regular C-52, is that it is made for a 30-character alphabet, such as Russian 2 or Arabic. This affects the letter selection disc at the front left, but also the double print head inside. The machine shown here is the Arabic variant, that was intended for countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  
Arab C-52 with open lid

Because of the interchangeable cipher wheels, the C-52 was more secure than predecessors like the M-209 and C-446. It is far less secure however, than its big brother — the CX-52 — which features irregular stepping and can optionally be converted for One-Time Tape (OTT) operation. The machine featured here, comes from the personal collection of Hans Bühler, the Crypto AG sales representative who was arrested in Iran in 1992 and spent the next nine months in prison.

  1. This is not the official designator for this machine, which is listed on the serial number tag simply as C-52. However, as the internal designator of the 30-character variant of the CX-52 was CX-52/30, we assume the same '/30' suffix for the 30-character variant of the C-52.
  2. The Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet has more than 30 characters, but 30 are generally enough to write comprehensible text. For example: the Russian M-125 Fialka cipher machine also uses 30 letters.

Arab version of CX-52
Arab CX-52 ready for use
Arab C-52
Arab C-52 front view
Arab C-52 with open lid
Arab C-52 close-up
Close-up of the cipher wheels and the cage
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Arab version of CX-52
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Arab CX-52 ready for use
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Arab C-52
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Arab C-52 front view
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Arab C-52 with open lid
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Arab C-52 close-up
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Close-up of the cipher wheels and the cage

Features
The diagram below gives a quick overview of the features of the C-52/30. The machine is nearly identical to the standard C-52, but supports 30 different characters, rather than just 26. For this reason, the letter selection disc at the front left, has 30 positions. The machine was clearly intended for alternative languages with larger alphabets, such as Arabic and Russian (Cyrillic).

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Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 16 February 2020. Last changed: Monday, 22 February 2021 - 13:57 CET.
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