Calculating machine invented by Blaise Pascal, a 19-year-old Frenchman. It is never built.
Another, similar machine designed by the German Gottfried Leibniz.
French textile manufacturer Jacques Jacquard invents ‘operation cards,’ an ancestor of the computer programme.
Charles Babbage, a Cambridge mathematics professor, invents the ‘difference engine’ – a series of calculating machines connected to work in unison, and based on Leibniz’ principles.
Analytical engine also developed by Babbage. This is the fundamental concept of a computer with a programme and memory.
American Herman Hollerith uses Jacquard’s card system to automate the analysis of US census returns. He later founds IBM. Bazeries enciphering machine is invented by a French army officer. Enciphering machines equipped with keyboards.
British Naval Intelligence begins intercepting German signals traffic, establishing Britain’s most efficient decrypting service of World War I. Its greatest triumph, in 1917, is the interception of the ‘Zimmerman Telegram’ from Germany’s Foreign Minister to her ambassador in Mexico, offering incentives for Mexican alliance with the Central Powers. This causes widespread antiGerman feeling in the US.
Enigma invented in Germany for use in banks and other businesses.
Washington Naval Conference. Japan is persuaded by the US and Britain to maintain a navy smaller than theirs. Anglo-American negotiators take a firm stance because decryption of a diplomatic message has shown Japan willing to compromise.
Enigma displayed at the International Postal Union’s congress in Berne.
German Navy begins to use Enigma, followed by German Army in 1928.
Polish Intelligence begins analysis of Enigma after a machine is accidentally sent to Warsaw from Germany. US ‘Black Chamber’ – decrypting department – closed down. Yardley, the American decrypter of the Japanese telegram in 1921, writes a book, The American Black Chamber, about his experiences. It causes outrage in Japan and leads to the building of a powerful fleet. In 1934 Japan withdraws from the 1921 Naval Agreement.
Japanese Government begins using Enigma.
Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the unofficial beginning of World War II.
Hans Thilo Schmidt, a German civil servant, begins selling Enigma secrets to France.
Forschungsamt, or Research Office, established in Germany as signals intelligence unit, and attached to Luftwaffe. Polish cryptographer Marian Rejewski discovers the wiring layout for Enigma.