the IDEAL is still working but sometimes the letter transport is malfunctioning or the position of the letters within a row stumbles. that means every word or phrase looks different.
this particular stencil machine is an old 1940s IDEAL NO. 1 stencil machine used by the US ARMY to mark the personal items of many soldiers during WWII and afterwards. it was used in the european theater and never made it back to the states.
it operates by hand and is pretty rough and edgy although it's quite simple to handle.
the oil in the cardboard is immanent and important because it feeds the metal letter punches with the little amount of oil they need to stay sharp and operable. in addition the oil impregnation keeps off the paint from the paperboard. it simply lasts longer.
the letters are stenciled into the cardboard propperly.
well, not always ...
some malfunctions are part of the game. and i love it. the IDEAL is more than seventy years old and failures are not exclusive to human beings ...