A detail of a page from Johannes Trithemius, Polygraphiae libri sex , 1518, exercises in cypher alphabets in the first published study of encrypting information.

Blaise de Vigenere, Traicté des chiffres , Paris 1586 . Here the message is hidden among the stars and is decoded with a shared text.

Giovanni Della Porta, De Furtivis Literarum Notis Vulgo published by the great esoteric in 1591.

a figure from John Wilkins' Mercury, or, The secret and swift Messanger; shewing how a man may with Privacy and Speed communicate his Thoughts to a Friend at any distance , London 1641, and a comprehensive account as to how messages may be concealed in words, music, and here geometry.



a spoof inscription

see Dickens' satire in

Pickwick Papers

Bill Stumps his mark

"Beneath this stone repose...

Tripe Seller" 1756

STRAND MAGAZINE, buried treasure and a coded box


Johannes Trithemius, Polygraphie, Paris 1561(with moving part)

KEN magazine 1938, codes on bald heads and musical notation

Seleni, A Treatise on Cryptography 1524

Leo Marks, Between Silk and Cyanide, biblio

W and E Friedman , The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined, selection of images