A Swedish businessman by profession, a mechanical and electrical engineer by qualification, Boris Caesar Wilhelm Hagelin developed the first electromechanical cipher machine in the year 1920. He started out by working as the head of construction of an electric power plant for the Nobel Company in Baku, and after a short endeavor to the US, he returned to Stockholm where he was placed as a trustee by his former employer in A.B. Cryptograph in 1922. This is where he started developing an interest in cipher machines and set out to build one on his own.
When he had found out that the Swedish Armed forces had come to possess one of the German Enigma machines, he assured them that he could come up with something much more complex and better in a matter of six months. His words did not lack substance, as he worked magic on the machine he called B-21. In 1925, the firm came under his control, and it was restructured as Cryptoteknik in 1932. It was here that he designed the C-36 mechanical cipher machine, and during WWII, many of his units were sold commercially as M-209.
As the curtain was drawn over the World War, he moved to Zug, Switzerland, where he set up a company by the name of Crypto AG. His reasons for relocation were that Sweden looked upon crypto-equipment as weaponry, so there existed strict laws banning their trade. In his life, he introduced a host of machines from A-22 to C-35 to C-52, all paving the way towards him being the only millionaire in the field of cryptology!
- Crypto AG - History
- History of Hagelin Cipher Machines
- Published with permission from Torbjorn "Toby" Andersson. (http://hem.passagen.se/tan01/)