Click here to download and print instructions for making your own cipher disk (PDF). Use your completed cipher disk to create and translate substitution ciphers.
The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was quite interested in cryptology; he developed a mathematical cipher for his personal correspondence, and, it is believed, invented a wheel-based cipher machine (now on display in the National Cryptologic Museum).
Your turn! Make a cipher disk and decrypt some messages!
Set your cipher wheel according to the key and solve the hidden messages!
Key = Z:W
Zori v drterc irrsd ch ur lrgc, xhb ovar ch qnis v zvx ch gehcrtc nc.
Solution: When a secret needs to be kept, you have to find a way to protect it.
Qcf ifrq qcbwd jivpq hvxupqfsr br qcjq qcfl gv fmjhqyl ncjq lvp qfyy qcfx qv gv. Qcf nvsrq qcbwd jivpq hvxupqfsr br qcjq qcfl gv fmjhqyl ncjq lvp qfyy qcfx qv gv.
Solution: The best thing about computers is that they do exactly what you tell them to do. The worst thing about computers is that they do exactly what you tell them to do.