This makes the Hagelin C-52 and CX-52 the most successful Cold War era cipher machines.The C-52 and CX-52 are all-mechanical pin-and-lug type cipher machines.Both plain and cipher text are printed on a gummed paper ribbon.The C-52 has 6 pinwheels, selected from a set of 12, with 25, 26, 29, 31, 34, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 46 and 47 pins.
The number of drum bars is extended to 32 (against 25 for the C-38) of which 5 movement bars are used to advance the wheels. The CX-52 model has 6 pinwheels with 47 pins each and a more flexible pinwheel advancing system with a higly irregular wheel movement.
The wheels are labeled with both letters and numbers (e.g. Both models were produced at the same time, with the C-52 producing a very long period and the CX-52 a very complex periode.
However, Hagelin produced many variations on these machines.
An example is the CX-52 shown here, with its iregular stepping combined with pinwheels with different sizes as used in the C-52.
When the variable key elements are selected carefully the CX-52 provides even in this computer era a powerful encryption.Within a short time the C-52 and CX-52 were purchased by more than 60 countries and remained popular for decades.