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Siemens & Halske

Siemens is a German manufacturer of electronics equipment. It is currently Europe's largest engineering conglomerate with headquarters in Berlin, Munich and Erlangen (Germany). Siemens was founded in 1847 by Werner von Siemens as Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske.

Before and during WWII, Siemens built equipment for the German Department of Defense (DoD), such as the famous T-52 Geheimschreiber. After the war, Siemens produced cipher machines for NATO and its allies, some of which were developed in cooperation with Philips and Crypto AG.

Currrent Siemens logo. Copyright Siemens AG.

Over the years, the Siemens logo changed a number of times. The one shown at the top is the 1935 design, featuring a merged 'S' and 'H' in a circle. It was derived from the 1899 version that had no circle. In 1936, the circle was abandoned again and the word SIEMENS was written in red under the logo. In 1973, the logo was dropped in favor of the written version of 'SIEMENS'. In recent years, the word SIEMENS was replaced by a more modern typeface, as shown above.

Siemens equipment on this website
Siemens encryption equipment
Siemens communication receivers
Siemens transmitters and transceivers
Siemens & Halske teletypewriters (Fernschreibers)
The Siemens Beirat
During the Cold War, Siemens was used by the German intelligence service Bundesnachrichten­dienst (BND) and the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a legend, to hide the fact that they (BND and CIA) were the actual owners of the Swiss company Crypto AG (Hagelin). In June 1970, BND and CIA had been able to purchase Crypto AG in the secret Operation RUBICON [3].

Click to reveal Operation RUBICON

Siemens' contribution was two-fold. It could act as the ostensible owner in case the ownership of Crypto AG was ever questioned. In addition, it provided the Beirat, an advisory board from which CAG engineers received help when developing equipment. It allowed BND – via the German cipher authority ZfCh – to influence the cryptographic algorithms of Crypto AG equipment, in order to make them readable. In the United States, CIA and NSA had a similar arrangement with Motorola.

Siemens Beirat equipment on this website 1
H-460, the first electronic Hagelin cipher machine based on shift-registers
CRM-008 CRYPTOCOM - Voice Crypto Unit
Hagelin CSE-280 voice encryption device
Crypto AG (Hagelin) bulk encryption device
Crypto AG (Hagelin) HC-520 CRYPTOMATIC portable off-line cipher machine
HC-550 CRYPTOMATIC desktop electronic cipher machine
  1. Note that some of this equipment was (partly) developed by Crypto AG themsemves or by the Government Electronics Division of Motorola. In case of the H-460, Siemens only fixed design issues to that it could be re-released. In other cases, the cryptologic was developed by ZfCh and implemented by Siemens.

  1. Siemens History
    Retrieved January 2018.

  2. Siemens Historical Institute
    Retrieved January 2018.

  3. Crypto Museum, Operation RUBICON
    February 2020.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 24 May 2012. Last changed: Monday, 09 January 2023 - 15:23 CET.
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