Knowledge Is Powe


If you want to buy more than one sheet of this poster or want to order it together with any of the other posters available through our shop, we can reduce your shipping fees by mailing them all in one tube. Please call us at +1 718 222-8434 or email us at shop at cabinetmagazine dot org to make arrangements.


Price as Selected: $14


Poster, 26 x 8 inches, sent rolled in a tube.

World War I cryptographers trained by William and Elizebeth Friedman, Aurora, Illinois, early 1918. By facing either forward or sideways, the soldiers formed a coded phrase utilizing Sir Francis Bacon’s biliteral cipher. The intended message—first decoded by Cabinet—was the famous Baconian motto “Knowledge is power,” but there were insufficient people to complete the r, yielding the Elmer Fuddian phrase “Knowledge is Powe.”

Originally accompanying William Sherman's essay “How to Make Anything Signify Anything” by William H. Sherman in Cabinet no. 40. Read Sherman's essay here. See a decoded version of the photograph here.