SAD NEWS. On October 13, 2016, the man we knew and loved as Mysterelly passed away. He was in his 100th year, but was still 2-1/2 months shy of his 100th birthday. Good try, tho, Pappy!

A TRIBUTE (OR EXPOSÉ). This is the page where I let you in on the straight scoop. That is, I'm going to share a few juicy tidbits about the Myster (within the confines of prudence and propriety, of course). For one thing, he retired pretty early and has been having nothing but fun since then. From that you can infer he's a pretty smart guy.

For a while after retiring early he did some consulting work, which is possibly what he used the "good old-fashioned engineering" logo for (see right). Did some secret government work on robotic bureaucrats or flying sneakers or some such thing. He always said he'd have to kill us if he told us about that stuff.

Okay, some basic facts. He's definitely not as old as he might let on if you asked him straight out. Plus, the Myster's a great kidder, so if he tells you he was born before the Roaring 20s, be skeptical. But none of that's important anyway.

Mysterelly has been a builder all his life. He grew up in SoCal, graduated from Occidental College, always had a shop, always hopped up his cars. He built a working model turbojet engine before most people ever even heard the word. He was also the kind of cool guy who would flag down little old ladies driving their Hupmobiles over from nearby Pasadena and say stuff like "Hey, lady! Your Johnson Rod is dragging!" I tried that once, but by then even little old ladies from Pasadena knew that the old Johnson Rod gag was a serious has-been. Or maybe I just couldn't look sincere enough. That's when I realized it would be futile to try to follow in my father's footsteps.

Father? I have it on good authority that Mysterelly fathered four kids that we know of: two boys and two girls, the eldest of which is the writer. A finer bunch of siblings I cannot imagine. In the bigger picture, the Myster and second wife Joy, who passed away in 2007, together accounted for a total of four daughters and two sons, eleven grandkids, nineteen great-grandkids and three great-great grandkids. Whew.

But back to building. Mysterelly built (with some help, of course) the house that we grew up in. Using mostly hand tools. Later, he also built a separate shop on the property. Big surprise, huh? Before launching Ellison Engineering in the 1950s he was an engineer with some aerospace companies that have long since merged into mega-oblivion. When he got tired of corporate life and long commutes he launched his own company.

Primarily an aerospace subcontract manufacturer of miniature precision instruments, Ellison Engineering also did some more fun things, like building the TransSport (an innovative pioneer in the trail cycle industry) and the AirBurr (an innovative high-speed pneumatic tool that predated air-powered dental drills).

But wait, what about the HydroCycle? That was a stand-up-on-it outboard-powered (hopped up, of course) watersled that got around on hydrofoils and predated the Ski-Doo era of personal watercraft.

One thing you could count on from Mysterelly: he wasn't about to design and build things the way most other people did them just because most other people did them that way. He knew there's always a better way if you're willing to climb out of the box and spend some brainpower and creativity looking for it. Look at his miniature mechanical marvels and you see that philosophy in action.

He's also been a True Believer in the old theory that a job worth doing is worth doing right. I'll bet you can see that theory mirrored in those engines, too. I can.

E T Ellison (son the first)
Updated November 29, 2016



Below: the Myster and one of his top chipmakers -- a Bridgeport milling machine enhanced with a bunch of the Myster's custom tooling.

Below: the Myster's other top chipmaker, a venerable South Bend lathe, also enhanced with the Myster's custom tooling.



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