The They couldn’t write their secret politicalThe They couldn’t write their secret political

The artifact for this week is the Jefferson cipher wheel or the Jefferson disk. However, it was renamed by a French cryptanalyst, Etienne Bazeries, to now be also known as ‘Bazeries Cylinder’. This cypher wheel was invented by Thomas Jefferson in 1795, and Bazeries reinvented it a couple decades later. This wooden cypher device was created because Jefferson wanted to send secret messages through letters. Since the courier or anyone could open up the letter and read it, Jefferson came up with such an invention. There’s not a lot of parts to this wheel;  Depending on the model of it, there could be a different amount of disks. The disks are placed on the axel, a long stick with handles, and the disks are placed in random numeric order. On each disk, the alphabet letters are imprinted in a random order, accompanied by numbers and/or symbols. The coding part of the cypher is interesting. The sender has their disks arranged in a random order, and the recipient must have their disks arranged in the same order. After the sender spins out their message in one, long row on the cypher, they choose a random row on their cypher above or below their message and send a letter to whomever the recipient is. The recipient will receive the letter with the scrambled words (the indirect message) from the row above or below the direct message. Afterwards, they will spin out the indirect message on their wheel and search the wheel for a direct message. This enabled the content within letters to be hidden. This relates to what we are studying because we are learning about the struggles of communicating secret messages because there were spies everywhere. In addition, when John Adams was president and Jefferson was Vice President, they had political disagreements. They couldn’t write their secret  political opinions on some subjects because the letters had a chance of being read by third persons. Fortunately, this invention allowed people to share important confidential information. That’s this week’s artifact.