Miriam, regarding the cleaning of machines and needing/or not the kerosene bath: When I got my 1890 Davis VF machine it was gunked up really good with old sticky oil. All I did was use new sewing machine oil to liberally coat all the moving parts and let it sit for a while, then wiped them all clean with rags, Qtips, floss, etc., and literally all the gunk came off. I took off the slide plates and the face plate and cleaned all under them, same way. She moves smoothly and does a great stitch.
I have to agree with you...it has to be a really really sad, rusty mess to need total stripping down.