Creating Adair's Newspaper
Radioman 2nd Class, Linn Sheckler Jr. had one job during the war in the Pacific that he did like to remember. Typing up and distributing the ships' news. After decoding radios messages from the states about baseball games or football games or gossip, he would re-type it, using the typewriter shown at right, in an organized manner, on to stencil.

The stencil was placed on to a mimeograph machine and printing began on the newspaper. See mimeograph at right.

One of the big reason Linn likes this job was that the papers had to be placed in locations around the ship so all could get a copy. The best stop was in the mess hall. There, on none chow times, it was possible to sample large quantities of food in the galley.

One sample of a paper is displayed below.


A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical or electronic device for making text documents on paper. It is now largely obsolete.

A typewriter has a keyboard, with keys for the characters in its font. The method by which the typewriter actually marks the paper now varies as greatly as types of printers do, but until the end of the 20th century was by impact of a metal (or, later, metallized plastic) type element against an "inked" ribbon in front of the paper, the same way carbon paper worked.

A stencil is a letter, number, cartoon, typographical symbol, illustration, or any other shape or image in cut-out form (it can be cut out of paper, cardboard, metal or other material). Stencils are used to create sharp-edged paintings of the desired image, by applying paint on the surface with the cut-out, leaving a painting of that shape on the underlying surface.

For the mimeograph, It used (heavy) waxed paper . These were placed in a typewriter to create the original; the typewriter cutting through the paper.
The stencil was wrapped around the drum of the (manual or electrical) machine, which forced ink out through the cut marks on the stencil. The paper had a surface texture (like bond paper), and the ink was black. It did not smell. You could use special knives to cut stencils by hand, but you couldn't really hand-write on them, because any loop would cut a hole, so you'd have a black blob. If you put the stencil on the drum wrong-side-out, your copies came out mirror-images.

Here are the materials needed prepare a mimeograph stencil by using a typewriter:
  • Equipment to clean the typewriter type faces

    • Cotton wool or cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol
    • Modeling dough, or
    • small brush.
  • Mimeograph stencils
  • Stencil correction fluid
  • Typewriter
Follow these guidelines to prepare a mimeograph stencil by using a typewriter:
  • Do not use the typewriter ribbon.
  • Do not underline with the typewriter because it cuts the stencil too deeply.
  • Underline with a stylus after the typing is finished.
Follow these steps to prepare a mimeograph stencil by using a typewriter:
  1. Remove carbon particles or dust from the metal typeface letters with
    • a small brush
    • a piece of modeling dough, or
    • a cotton ball or cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Adjust the typewriter ribbon to the neutral (blank) position, or take the ribbon out of the machine if there is no selector switch.
  3. Place the stencil in the typewriter with the rollers of the paper holder at the edges of the stencil. Rollers then will not press on the cut parts as the stencil goes through.
     TIP: Fold or cut the stencil in half if necessary to fit into the typewriter. Tape it together later.
  1. Type the text .
  2. Check and correct mistakes before removing the stencil from the typewriter.
     Caution: It is almost impossible to reinsert the stencil and line it up exactly to make unnoticeable corrections.

A stylus is a hard-pointed, pen-shaped instrument used for marking on or "cutting" stencils.

A mimeograph machine is a mechanical duplicator that produces copies by pressing ink onto paper through openings cut in a stencil. Mimeograph machines have been largely replaced by more sophisticated technology, but many are still being used. They are becoming obsolete, however, because they are no longer being made. Parts will eventually be unavailable.

A mimeograph machine works as follows:
  • Special mimeograph or duplicator ink is applied as appropriate to the particular machine.
  • Paper to be printed is placed in the paper tray.
  • A prepared stencil is wrapped tautly and smoothly around the cylinder and secured at one or both ends, depending on the machine.
  • As the cylinder is rotated, a pressure roller inside the machine presses paper against the cylinder.
  • The roller forces the ink through the openings that were cut in the stencil onto the paper.
There are both electric and nonelectric models of mimeograph machines.

Definitions are from SIL International