Sometimes you can find a real gem on eBay. The UK National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park certainly did: it spotted a Nazi teleprinter used during the war for sale on the site and bought it for just £10.
The BBC reports that volunteers from the museum — which is housed in the buildings where Alan Turing worked during the war — came across the device as they were casually scanning eBay. Staff then travelled to Southend-on-Sea in Essex to see the device, which was listed on the site as a telegram machine.
Closer inspection revealed tell-tale makings confirming its provenance, notably a Swastika and a special Waffen-SS key. The museum offered the owner £10 for the device (50p over the asking price of £9.50!), which was accepted.
The teleprinter was one part of the Nazi encryption infrastructure. As The Register explains, communications would be entered into the newly found device before being encoded by a Lozenz SZ42 cipher machine (pictured above). The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park currently owns a Lozenz SZ42— one of just four thought to remain intact — and it’s hoping to pair the two up.
The museum is now looking for a new motor component for the Lozenz machine, so the two can be made to work together once more. [BBC, The Register]