Specifications for Stencil Machines and Marking


If you are restoring an old military vehicle and using as many original parts as possible, you will also be using a marking typeface or font for your vehicle that corresponds to the guidelines and tools of the time.

Typically there is a concrete model, like a photo of grandfather in a military jeep. The jeep, which was one of the most produced vehicles of the Second World War, usually had inscriptions that allowed it to be assigned to a specific unit. These lettering ranges from very precise, typical stencil typeface, to self-made stencils, to freehand painted lettering. Even the stencils of the region, for example the typical French stencils, were sometimes used by the Allied troops entering Europe through France. This probably happened when certain troop units were merged into new units and the required marking equipment was not available in the field.

As for everything that is somehow related to the procurement of the government, these things were officially recorded and numbered, and specifications were created for this purpose. From erasers to first-aid kits, everything big and small that is ever important in the performance of an activity is assigned to a number.

The U.S. government created a comprehensive national catalog of goods — the National Stock Number (or later NATO Stock Number) system, in short NSN. There is also an extensive catalog of specifications. To this day, they form the basis of the US military's acquisition system and are used in part by NATO allies.

These specifications also include the labeling of equipment and the necessary tools. Former military persons and friends of authentic military history also use it.

Because some of these numbers are commonly used in connection with marking and stenciling machines, they are listed here.

stencil machines in use

U.S. Air Force: Sergeant Martin L. Mitchell, Texarkana, Texas, teaches Indian assistant how to run a stencil machine.

31. April, 1944, India


Stencil Cutting Machines:

  • left - Ideal Stencil Machine
  • right - Diagraph-Bradley Stencil Machine

Specifiaktion Numbers

One of the most common numbers or codes is GG-S-747C, which is often written on the case of stencil machines. This is a specification for manually operated stencil machines. The manufacturers have advertised the machines to be in compliance with these specifications.

U.S. Specification for Stencil Machines

Nov. 07. 1933, GG-M-91 Stencil Cutting-Machines

Feb. 12. 1958, GG-S-747a Stencil Cutting-Machines, hand-operated
Feb. 10. 1964, GG-S-747C Stencil Cutting-Machines, hand-operated
Okt. 31. 1963, GG-S-749D Stencil Cutting-Machines, electric
Jan. 12. 1989, GG-S-747D Stencil Cutting-Machines, hand-operated

U. S. Army Specification for Marking Freight

94-40645 or 94-40645-A Marking;
Exterior, Domestic and Export Shipment by Contractors.

U. S. Army Specification for Marking Equipment

Aug. 05. 1942, AR 850-5, Marking of Clothing, Equipment, Vehicles, and Property

A PDF version of the AR 850-5 specs can be downloaded at militaryvehiclestencils.com.

NSN Numbers

These number can be verified at www.nsnlookup.com.

Please note that these numbers can become obsolete. The typefaces of manual stencils kits has changed since the 2nd World War. The typeface has become much narrower, usually from a wide Gothic to a narrow Gothic (Sans Serif). In WWII also Roman stencil typefaces are used. Please keep this in mind when looking for the right marking tools for your props and restorations.

Samples of NSN Numbers

NSN 7520-00-272-9684, Marking Stencil Set, 5 inch, brass interlocking stencils
NSN 7520-00-269-9012, Marking Stencil Set, 4 inch, brass interlocking stencils
NSN 7520-00-272-9683, Marking Stencil Set, 3 inch, brass interlocking stencils
NSN 7520‒00‒298‒7044, Marking Stencil Set, 2 inch, brass interlocking stencils, (A-A-130A)
NSN 7520-00-272-9680, Marking Stencil Set, 1 ½ inch, brass interlocking stencils
NSN 7520-00-298-7043, Marking Stencil Set, 1 inch, brass interlocking stencils
NSN 7520-00-205-1760, Marking Stencil Set, ½ inch, brass interlocking stencils

NSN 7490-01-102-0752, IDEAL 5/8 INCH machine, hand operated stencil cutting machine,

Note: Marsh's best-selling stencil machine during World War II was the Model S, introduced in 1940, which cut 3/4 stencils. Ideal's machine, the 5/8" Ideal No. 2, may also be one of WWII's bestsellers. This should also be conceivable for the 3/4 inch model from Diagraph-Bradley. All of these machines have a slightly different typeface, which can be found in different size models from the same manufacturer. But very few people will be able to see that.

See our collection of authentic vintage stencil fonts for more information.

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