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Diskret

First year of production:
1899
Company:
Friedr. Rehmann , Karlsruhe , Germany
Serial nr:
n.a.

The Diskret is a beautifully designed, simple index typewriter, with the circular index plate and vertically placed typewheel. The interesting idea behind this machine that it could also be used as a simple cipher machine.

The principle was very simple: turn the handle on the index to the right letter and the vertical typewheel would follow suit. By pushing the lever at the left lightly, the machine would move one space forward. Printing was accomplished by pushing it all the way down. The paper was laying flat on the board. Inking by two rollers located at the extremities of an arc positioned over the typewheel (pic 3)

The cipher system was operated through the second index wheel that can be seen inside the larger one. By turning the small knob, the inner index is rotated, while the outer ring stays in place. The typist then uses the inner disk to type. The typist sends the encoded letter to the receiver, and tells the receiver how many characters he moved the inner disk. By copying the encoded letter on another Diskret typewriter, with the same setting, but using the outer index, one would obtain the decoded letter. Very discrete indeed, but a commercial failure.

A year before the Diskret "Geheim- und Weltschreibmaschine" (Secret and world typewriter) hit the streets of Germany, the same design (minus the ciphering technique) had been used in the company's Volksschreibmaschine (people's typewriter).

Courtesy of: Costa collection