1913 3-6 HP Ellis

Swap meet Ellis goes from junker to jewel


| December/January 2004


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?