According to a recent report from the BBC, the bombe machine has been voted the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ favourite recipient of the Engineering Heritage Award. This award was established back in 1984 with the intention of increasing public awareness of great feats of engineering. This year’s award ceremony was designed to mark the 30th anniversary of the awards and Members were asked to vote for their favourite artefact from among a total of 99 previous winners.
There is no denying that the bombe machine was a worthy winner. Indeed, this revolutionary piece of engineering played an instrumental role during the Second World War and was used to decipher messaged encrypted by the German enigma machine, thus providing key intelligence for the Allies. These machines allowed up to 5,000 messages a day to be decoded, and played a crucial role in the Allies’ success. Thanks to the development of these machines, some estimates suggest that the war may have been cut buy up to two years, thus saving many lives.
The initial design of the bombe machine was developed at the famous Bletchley Park by the brilliant Alan Turing, with a key refinement being later devised by Gordon Welchman. The engineering design and construction itself, was implemented by Harold Keen, an engineer at the British Tabulating Machine Company. Turing originally took up residence at Bletchley Park at the outbreak of the war in September 1939, and the first prototype of his bombe – given the name Victory – was installed in the spring of 1940. By 1943 these machines were deciphering the equivalent of a staggering two messages every minute.
A biopic of the pioneering Alan Turing starring acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch, is set to be released on the 14th of November of this year. The film portrays the challenges faced by Alan Turing and his team in their race against time to crack the German enigma code and aid the War effort.
Interestingly our company has its own tie to this iconic machine, and indeed was involved in helping build a replica of the enigma machine for the local Hayworth 1940’s weekend, providing the springs needed for the model.
Here at Airedale Spring we’re passionate about engineering and have many years of experience of developing high-quality spring products, including compression springs for a wide range of engineering applications. For more information about our range of products and services please don’t hesitate to contact us and a member of our friendly team will be happy to help you with your enquiries.