Cipher wheels are a tool used to create encrypted messages. The desire to make messages secret has existed for many many years. Some early ciphers go back to the Roman consul Julius Caesar and the code has become known as a Caesar Shift. The wheels are an aid in both creating the cipher and in decoding it. Both the creator and decoder would need the same type of wheel.
Creating codes, or encryption, can run the gamut from easy, like a Caesar Shift, to extremely complex like modern computer encryption. While cipher wheels may seem simple compared to modern computer methods they can still create surprisingly robust and hard to crack codes. While their main downfall is that they are manual, I see this as part of the fun - the creator and recipient having to use the devices and their own skill to keep their messages secret.
Here at Cryptic Woodworks I've been fascinated by cipher wheels and just what kind of encryption they can perform. I've created a few types of wheels so far: standard English alphabet and English cipher text, standard English alphabet and Greek cipher text, standard English alphabet and Runic cipher text. My latest wheel has a standard English alphabet but also include numbers for more possibilities along with two different cipher texts : standard English and symbol. I strive to create wheels that are both highly functional and beautiful and unique.
The following pages in this section will cover a variety of the ciphers one could create. Some of these are unique to the wheels I make.