To send the papers concerning the constitution from France I invented the above highly portable mechanical encryption machine (found at monticello.org). It was the first mechanical encryption machine and was discontinued before the War of 1812. That level of encryption was not seen as being needed again until many years later. It was finally resurrected in the late 1800's.

Still later the Germans made their version of my machine famous with-

their 'Enigma machine' which they used in the 1940's during W.W.II Notice that it consists mainly of wheels which are really the same as the wheels of my system. They can be changed in their order and so can their relationship to each other. It is virtually the same thing that I invented only a bit more complex. Why more people don't realize this I don't know.

These were both computers. The digital computer replaced them simply because electrons move faster than wheels (as any robber in jail will tell you who has tried to outrun the police who are equipped with radios).

Strangely Thomas Jefferson is never mentioned in the 'Enigma machine' or any of the other articles that I have read on mechanical encryption machines. So you can add to the knowledge base that Thomas Jefferson was the father of modern encryption, the United States and the most advanced computer of the time. That also he was able to pull off absolutely the most important and one of the most dangerous undercover missions of all times. He, the spy master single handedly and with only a few strokes of his pen hamstrung the English using their own legal system and thereby created the United States which has endured to this day.

 

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2004-8 John Pinil