Oliver Hulland visits the NSA’s cryptologic museum:

The highlight of the museum is the functional Enigma: an electro-mechanical rotor machine used for the encryption and decryption of messages by the Germans in World War II.

When I was 14 I saw an enigma machine at the Orangerie in Kassel, Germany – it’s one of two times when I really felt a dizzying sense of my place in history. (The other was seeing the Clock of the Long Now at the Science Museum, London).

The technology exhibit was visiting the Orangerie from the Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel and wasn’t specifically related to computing, though that was the part I was most interested in. Amongst other things it featured 2Kbit of core memory, a Commodore PET and the (non-operational) three-rotor Enigma (marking it as army or air-force, not Wehrmacht). I just stared at it.

The Colossus may be considered the start of modern computing, but the Enigma was the reason Turing designed it.