Report: Cryptography

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  Timeline 1600 - 1900 AD

17th century Cardinal Richelieu invents an encryption-tool called grille, a card with holes for writing messages on paper into the holes of those cards. Afterwards he removes the cards and fills in the blanks, so the message looks like an ordinary letter. The recipient needs to own the same card

- Bishop John Wilkins invents a cryptologic system looking like music notes. In a book he describes several forms of steganographic systems like secrets inks, but also the string cipher. He mentions the so-called Pig Latin, a spoken way of encryption that was already used by the ancient Indians

- the English scientist, magician and astrologer John Dee works on the ancient Enochian alphabet; he also possesses an encrypted writing that could not been broken until today

1605/1623 Sir Francis Bacon (= Francis Tudor = William Shakespeare?) writes several works containing ideas about cryptography. One of his most important advises is to use ciphers in such a way that no-one gets suspicious that the text could be enciphered. For this the steganogram was the best method, very often used in poems. The attempt to decipher Shakespeare's sonnets (in the 20th century) lead to the idea that his works had been written by Francis Bacon originally.

1671 Leibniz invents a calculating machine that uses the binary scale which we still use today, more advanced of course, called the ASCII code

18th century this is the time of the Black Chambers of espionage in Europe, Vienna having one of the most effective ones, called the "Geheime Kabinettskanzlei", headed by Baron Ignaz von Koch. Its task is to read through international diplomatic mail, copy letters and return them to the post-office the same morning. Supposedly about 100 letters are dealt with each day.

1790's Thomas Jefferson and Robert Patterson invent a wheel cipher

1799 the Rosetta Stone is found and makes it possible to decipher the Egyptian Hieroglyphs

1832 or 1838 Sam Morse develops the Morse Code, which actually is no code but an enciphered alphabet of short and long sounds. The first Morse code-message is sent by telegraph in 1844.

1834 the Braille Code for blind people is developed in today's form by Louis Braille

1844 the invention of the telegraph changes cryptography very much, as codes are absolutely necessary by then

1854 the Playfair cipher is invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone

1859 for the first time a tomographic cipher gets described

1861 Friedrich W. Kasiski does a cryptoanalysis of the Vigenère ciphers, which had been supposed to be uncrackable for ages

1891 Major Etienne Bazeries creates a new version of the wheel cipher, which is rejected by the French Army

1895 the invention of the radio changes cryptography-tasks again and makes them even more important

browse Report:
-3   Timeline Cryptography - Introduction
-2   Timeline BC
-1   Timeline 00 - 1600 AD
0   Timeline 1600 - 1900 AD
+1   Timeline 1900-1970 AD
+2   Timeline 1970-2000 AD
+3   Cryptography's Terms and background