Dok's Engine Shop, P.O. Box 292, Weeping Water, Nebraska 68463
This engine was bought new by a Mr. W. J. Radamaker of Johnson, Nebraska, in February of 1914. Mr. Radamaker passed away before the engine was sold to me, and the information I have is from his brother who is still living Mr. Hye Radamaker (who was 87 when I bought the engine.). Although these brothers farmed close together in Johnson, one didn't always know what the other was doing, so some of my information is rather vague!
As told to me, the brothers went to the Johnson Depot and brought the engine home via team and bobsled. The first job it was used for was to run a fanning mill for cleaning grain. Then it was used to power a saw for wood cutting and then it was used to pump water. We are not sure whether it had a cooling system or a gas tank (factory made). Mr. Radamaker thought they used a 2 gallon gas can for gas and a ten gallon cream can for the cooling system. The Ellis was mounted on two skids to sit on and never had a truck to move.
I purchased the Ellis at the estate sale just the bare engine in the junk pile for $1050.00. I also got the original book that came with the engine, but it is the wrong book, as it is for a 4-6 HP Ellis.
The first thing I had to do was to clean the engine up and dissassemble it before restoring it. I think I have about 300 hours of time in restoring broken parts that had to be remade: distributor shaft, governor shaft, distributor disk and wiper arrangement, fuel mechanism and check valves. I had to make a coolant tank, a gas tank, and battery box. The cart was built as close as I could get to pictures I have seen. The wood in this cart is native Weeping Water oak. The wheels and hardware are just what the pictures looked like.
Now we come to the start-up after most everything had been done. I said 'Well, we have to have lots of fuel,' so I turned the fuel valve open about 1 turns. On the first turnover, it fired about twice and then no more. It was really flooding, with gas coming out the exhaust and governor disc or speed adjuster. With nothing to tell us what to do and no one to ask, we experimented. When we finally got it started it ran real well on about 1/3 turn open for 1 HP and about 1/3 to 1/2 turn open for 3 HP.
The unique feature of this engine is that it turns equally well clockwise or counter-clockwise (although it seems to have more HP turning counterclockwise.)
The first time the engine was shown was at Steel City, Nebraska, in October of 1984. Since then, it has traveled about 3000 miles to be shown in places like the Camp Creek show in Waverly, Nebraska; the Mid-states show in Oakland, Nebraska; Harvest Days in Minden, Nebraska; and the James Valley Threshing Association show in Andover, South Dakota. My Ellis was also written up in three local papers.
The Ellis is a real attraction at shows a real crowd-pleaser. I have several other engines, but none of them attracts as much attention.
Mr. Dokter, who is 75 years old, is a machinist and tool and die maker and a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Earlier n life, he repaired small gas engine tractors and steam engines and then spent over 35 years in the trucking business, which he has now turned over to his son. Since retirement, he has been able to pursue his restoration hobby. He is currently in the process of restoring a 1917 Oakland car which has been made into a truck. Mr. Dokter tells us of other Ellis owners with whom he has corresponded: Mr. David R. Aikens of Water ford, PA, and Mr. Marvin E. Ruebush of Staunton, VA. Those interested in Ellis engines are invited to join in the correspondence. Ed.