French cryptologist Major Etienne Bazeries played his role in the Cryptographic Community with the devising of the Bazeries cylinder, which was basically an improvised adaptation of the Jefferson cipher cylinder. He enrolled himself in the Army in 1863, and he was captured and taken prisoner during the Franco-Prussian war. After escaping the clutches of the enemy, he returned to the Army to be promoted to Lieutenant in 1874.
What started out as a hobby, solving cryptograms in the local newspaper ended up with the creation of the above mentioned Bazeries cylinder (which is rumored to have been the inspiration behind the M-94 cipher). But sadly, this design was rejected by the French General Staff on the grounds that it neither could be solved using mere brain power, nor could the solution be remembered without documentation. So, he took the task of designing a new cipher. He demonstrated a test with a cryptogram of 43 five-letter groups, for the benefit of the army. It basically dealt with a monoalphabetic substitution, where nulls were scattered here and there in between key changes.
In 1902, he published the story behind the ordeal in a book titled "Les Chaffes secrets devoiles" (Secret Ciphers Unveiled), where he described how his second design also went in vain, as the Army quoted that it did not meet the security requirements. This book is said to be a milestone in cryptographic literature. Brazeries is also credited with solving the mystery behind the "man in the iron mask". The first records of the existence of the masked prisoner, dated back to 1669. He was under the watchful eye of Marquis de Saint-Mars of the Pignerol prison, so much so he actually fed the prisoner himself and even took him to a solitary cell in the third chamber of the Bertaudiere tower when he assumed the position of Governor in 1698.
An order of silence had been issued and for centuries, historians remained perplexed about the identity of the masked prisoner and the charges made against him. Brazeries was finally able to throw light on the situation in 1893, three years after a French military historian, Louis Gendron uncovered a series of cryptic letters and handed them to him. Using Louis XIV's 'Great Cypher', he encrypted one of the letters to discover that the prisoner was General Vivien de Bulonde. Another letter which was found to have been written by Francois de Louvois, claimed that prisoner had ordered a withdrawal from the siege of Cuneo abandoning men and weaponry fearing the arrival of a enemy battalion from Austria which had outraged Louis XIV. Brazeries retired from the army in 1899, but continued lending his assistance in solving German Ciphers during World War I till the year 1924.
- Students better than a pro (bazeries) and an author (candela) Cryptologia, Jan 1999 by Kahn, David
- Man in the Iron Mask - The prisoner, the Global Oneness Commitment
- Public Domain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Bazeries.jpg)