Thomas Jefferson’s Invention of Wheel Cipher
Among the Jeffersonian history in THE LAST PATRIOT is the story behind the third president’s invention of an “ingenious machine,” the wheel cipher. While living in Paris, Jefferson invented this early technology to encode and decode sensitive correspondence. The device is comprised of a series of disks with the 26 letters of the alphabet set around their edges. The disks hang on a metal axle, the ends of which sit on a rack, so that the discs can be rotated to spell out desired messages.