A limited edition of 211 pens to celebrate the achievement of Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman who created the Turing-Welchman Bombe machine used to break Enigma-enciphered messages during the Second World War.
Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman were based at Bletchley Park, the Victorian Buckinghamshire mansion that served as the wartime HQ of Britain’s top code breakers. As part of a team of highly talented mathematicians and cryptologists, they helped decode thousands of Nazi military communications on a daily basis, and shortened the war by 2-4 years.
The Enigma Machine
Their aim was to crack the code of the Enigma machine – a portable typewriter-like cipher machine that used changeable rotors and plug boards to give a staggering 15,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible options. Thousands of coded communications between the German Army, Air Force and Navy were transmitted each day using these Enigma machines.
The Turing-Welchman Bombe
The British Bombe machine, designed by Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, was installed at Bletchley Park and the first one was called “Victory”. It enabled the automation of the deciphering of the Enigma codes which changed each day. It was an electro-mechanical device with 108 detachable rotating drums and 3 indicator drums. Each drum had the 26 letters of the alphabet etched into its circumference.
The Turing-Welchman Pen
To celebrate the eightieth anniversary of the first Turing-Welchman Bombe, The National Museum of Computing has launched The Turing-Welchman Pen.
There will only be 211 pens made worldwide to reflect the 211 Bombes built during the war. Each pen has its edition number engraved on the end of the barrel.
The top of the pen is made in sterling silver to resemble the Bombe’s drum with the 26 letters of the alphabet etched into the surface. It rotates like the actual Bombe drum.
On the wide sterling silver cap band is the word “Victory”, the name of the first Bombe, and the UK hallmarks as a stamp of its quality.
Engraved on the barrel are the words “The Turing- Welchman Pen” to keep alive the memory of these most ingenious men whose secret activities during the Second World War helped save Europe from Nazi tyranny, and also triggered the start of the computer era.
And there is a secret compartment to hide your secret message – unscrew the barrel end, and there is a compartment to hold a small scroll of paper – your message to yourself, or to your loved one.
The National Museum of Computing
This pen is brought to you by the National Museum of Computing based at Bletchley Park, England. An amazing museum which is home to the world’s largest collection of working historic computers; from the Turing-Welchman Bombe and Colossus of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, to the rise of personal computing, and culminating with mobile computing, the internet, video games, and robotics. A portion of each pen sold is given to the Museum to help with their operating costs. To take a virtual tour of the Museum visit their website https://www.tnmoc.org/
Each Turing-Welchman Fountain Pen has a dual filling system. It is fitted with a converter which allows you to draw ink from a bottle or alternatively, you may remove the converter and use standard European ink cartridges.
Dimensions of The Turing-Welchman Pen
Length Closed: 146mm | 5.75″
Length Posted: 181mm | 7.13″
Length of Barrel incl nib: 138mm | 5.43″
Length of Cap: 70mm | 2.76″
Diameter of Barrel: 15mm | 0.59″
Diameter of Cap: 17.5mm | 0.69″
Weight: 40gms | 1.42oz