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1913 3-6 HP Ellis

Swap meet Ellis goes from junker to jewel

| December/January 2004

  • Paul's Ellis
    Paul Frasier's restored 3-6 HP circa-1913 Ellis. Compare this with the photographs and you get an idea of just how much work went into restoring this rare engine. Paul does all of the welding, machining and painting of his engines. The Ellis' cooling tank is patterned off an original, and Paul painstakingly copied the original lettering and design for an accurate restoratio
  • Repairing the cylinder
    Repairing the cylinder and cylinder head required removing old welds.
  • Ellis as Frasier purchased it
    The Ellis as Frasier purchased it, dirt and grease included. Notice the poor welding repair to the cylinder head.
  • Components of the Ellis
    Essential components of the Ellis are clearly visible here. At far left is the brass timer containing the ignition swipe, front-center is the intake manifold with fuel and air regulators, fuel reservoir at front-right and the Detroit force-feed oiler betw
  • cylinder prepped
    The cylinder, prepped and ready for welding.
  • The cylinder head
    Close up of the cylinder head.

  • Paul's Ellis
  • Repairing the cylinder
  • Ellis as Frasier purchased it
  • Components of the Ellis
  • cylinder prepped
  • The cylinder head

Company: Ellis Engine Co., Detroit, Mich.
Year: Circa 1913
Horsepower: 3 at 300 RPM; 6 at 1,000 RPM
Serial number: 968
Weight: 455 pounds
Bore: 4-1/2-inch
Stroke: 4-1/2-inch
Flywheel diameter: 18 inches
Ignition: Spark plug and buzz coil with swipe
Additional info: Tank-cooled, two-stroke; reversible

In 2002, I finished rebuilding my storage shed, taking it from a 14-by-12-foot shed to a 20-by-21-foot shed with 56 feet of 2-foot wide shelving and a 9-foot garage door. Certainly that would be all the extra storage I would ever need. I soon found out it was not big enough.

For five or six years I had been wanting to attend the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Assn. swap meet at the club grounds in Portland, Ind. But for every reason in the book, I always ended up missing it. But 2003 was going to be different, and in the end, I had a beautifully restored circa 1913 3-6 HP Ellis engine to show for it.

The Push
While moving all my things to the shed, I came to realize I had a lot of small lawn mower-type engines I would never do anything with. I decided it would be better to put those engines in the hands of collectors who would do something with them, and if I was to make some extra money doing it, that would be even better.

My first plan was to take what would be a pickup load from the shed to the garage, and Friday night after work load everything up and be ready to go Saturday morning. It soon became obvious I had more than one pickup load to take. Plan B was to use my enclosed trailer, as it is larger and I would not have to worry about the weather.

I arrived at the swap meet grounds early - a little before 7 a.m. There wasn't much movement at that time of day, but that was about to change. I could smell coffee perking and bacon frying. So before things really got going, I took a quick look around to see what was there. I saw a nice 1 -1/2 HP Sandwich, and if it would've had the correct ignition system, this would be a whole different story.

Leo Zugner_2
7/19/2009 1:33:26 PM

Does anyone have or know of a starting procedure for a 1-3HP Ellis two stroke engine?


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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