Saturday, August 13, 2005

Site Review: The Russian Fialka Machine

Last year, I got some exiting news from Tom Perera. He managed to get his hands on two exceptionally rare Russian Fialka cipher machines. The codename Fialka is Russian for Violet. This machine was top secret until the end of the 90's and little was know about this cold war era machine. Tom has done a great job, as usual, in gathering information and documenting this interesting machine.

Although similar to the German Enigma machine, it's a 10 wheel rotor machine, printing the ciphertext on paper and simultaneously punches a 5 level characters tape. It's keyboard has a Cyrillic alphabet. The Fialka has alternately counter-rotating rotors and a card reader for punched paper cards, used to set internal coding parameters. Another special feature are complex rotors with adjustable wirings. For the first time ever, detailles of this magnificent and top secret machine are published on the web.

On Tom's site, you find an a large number of magnificent and very detailed photographs of the Fialka and inside of the machine. Tom is also a dedicated Enigma cipher machine collector, and has documented a large number of those wonderful machines. You can visit his main page, the W1TP Telegraph & Scientific Instruments Museums, where you find an overwhelming amount of equipment and instruments. He's always searching for new things to buy or sell. If you still have an Enigma in the cellar, I'm sure he would like to hear from you. You can also visit the SAS- und Chiffrierdienst pages (in German) on Fialka.


Matt Crypto said...

Yeah, Fialka's a pretty nice machine; there's one on display at Bletchley Park at the moment. From the description, it would seem to be a very formidable encryption machine indeed.

Tom's site is great. I'd also recommend his CD, which contains a lot of photos of the Enigma, and in more detail than I've seen anywhere else (like all the innards and wiring).

elcomportal said...

this machine is really a nice machine!
in the year 1989 i was in the army (NVA, the army from the GDR). I have worked with this machine every day. And i have worked with the T310, a GDR cipher machine. It's much bigger than the Fialka, but it is a electronic machine. Nice to see that other people interested in these machines.

Best regards
Torsten from germany