IT looks like little more than a battered old typewriter.
But this is the famous German Enigma machine – and unlocking its secrets was one of the keys to an Allied victory in World War Two.
Pupils at Sheffield’s High Storrs School heard the fascinating story from Cambridge University professor Dr James Grime.
He explained how a group of mathematicians managed to crack the code used by Enigma to transmit German intelligence – so giving the Allies a vital advantage at a time when they were fighting for their lives.
Dr Grime, who is part of Cambridge’s Millennium Mathematics Project, also demonstrated how the machine worked and how difficult it was to unravel its secrets.
The event was titled The Enigma Project, the brainchild of science writer and broadcaster Simon Singh who owns the original device dating back to 1936.
The visit was open to the public and one of the visitors was Geoffrey Jennett from Ringinglow, who worked at the top secret codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park during the conflict.
Geoffrey was able to see Enigma for the first time in decades.
“The aim of the day was to tell the story of Enigma and also get the students involved in workshops.
“Hopefully that will get them interested in history, maths and science,” said school spokeswoman Eva Oliver.
She added: “It provoked a great deal of interest and the youngsters were really caught up by one of the most fascinating stories to come out of the war.”