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Mehano is a Slovenian (formerly: Yugoslavian) toy company that produces a wide range of traditional and electronic toys. They are particularly known for their range of model trains and other railroad equipment. The company was established in 1952 as Mehanotehnika and changed its name in 1990. The company also produced the Barbie Typewriter that was sold by Mattel (US).

Although Mehano is basically a toy company, some of their products can be used for other purposes, such as encryption. During the 1980s, Mehano manufactured low-cost mechanical typewriters for children, some of which were sold by Mattel to complement their Barbie ™ range of products. In 1998, the mechanical typewriters were replaced by an electronic variant that had features for (simple) data encryption. This version was also sold by Mattel, again as a Barbie ™ product. The cryptographic features were left intact, but were not documented in the manual.

 Original Mehano crypto-typewriters
 Barbie crypto-typewriters

Mehano started life as Mehanotehnika in 1952; a company for the production and sales of metal and plastic products. The name Mehanotehnika was derived from the first self-developed product: a puzzle toy. Although the company initially had no production facilities, this situation changed when in late 1953 new production machinery was acquired.

By the late 1950s, the business has grown so much that new production facilities were needed. The company subsequently moved to a new location in Izola where a new 5000 m2 production hall had been erected. In the same year, Mehanotehnika also made its first appearance at the Toy Fair in Nürenberg (Germany). A few years later, in 1962, an additional production facility in Materija was opened.

In 1965, Mehanotehnika started a long-term collaboration with the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychology of the Ljublijana University, with the project Good Toy, resulting in a series of products with superior psychological and pedagogical value.

In 1990, the company changed its name to Mehano.

In 2008 it was announced that Mehano had filed for bankrupcy, following economic difficulties in the preceeding 10 years. Nevertheless, the company managed to stay afloat and in still in business today (2016) [1].

  1. Wikipedia, Mehano
    Retrieved July 2015.

  2. Mehano, Corporate History
    Mehano website. Retrieved July 2015.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 09 July 2015. Last changed: Sunday, 12 June 2016 - 06:59 CET.
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