You can find all kinds of things on eBay. It’s not uncommon for rare items to be sold through the online marketplace, items with a significant amount of history attached to them, both good and bad. A device that was part of the Nazi encryption equipment has been sold through eBay for $15, it was purchased by the National Museum of Computing.
This military-issue Lorenz teleprinter is extremely rare. For more than eight decades it has been collecting dust in the garden shed of a woman in Essex, England, who finally decided to sell what she thought to be a “telegram machine” on eBay.
Volunteers from the UK’s National Museum of Computing came across the eBay listing while browsing the marketplace. Members of the staff were then dispatched to check the machine at the woman’s house. She was then offered the equivalent of $15 for the machine, which she accepted.
The museum now has this crucial component along wth the Lorenz SZ42 cipher machine which is on loan from the Norwegian Armed Forces. It’s now searching for the final parts needed to restore this encryption machine to working order. Staff is calling on people across the United States to help them search for these missing parts, particularly the drive motor, which they say looks like a small rugby ball with spindles at each end.