At a young 89, he has seemed to have found the Fountain of Youth. Since he was young, he’s always been interested in excelling in all aspects of his life- but never did he realize he would accomplish as much as he has. It all started with an Engineering Degree from Lafayette College, in Steam Plant Design. He was one of the only students to earn a perfect score from his professor on a project- he developed a torsion bar that was 13 times more effective than anything on the market at the time. Any engineering student knows how difficult it is to earn a perfect score on such a project, and John did just that.
His inventions have saved lives and vary from form and function. He’s been a tremendous part of many aspects of engineering- from the Discus throw to U.S. Military blueprints.
With the best Discus Throw in the World in 1957, John knew that giving up throwing was going to be necessary because of the use of anabolic steroids- which causes a host of heart problems including heart attacks- even though they were considered safe. He knew they were not and knew that he needed to live a long life. Many of his friends, such as 4 time Olympic champion Al Oerter, have now passed on. Oerter, a long time friend of John, told John’s daughter, “Your father invented the way they throw the discus!” And while John did not invent the discus or the game itself, he understood how to effectively throw it because of the mechanics involved. He understood the way the body worked and how the shape of the discus could fly through the air with the right force.
In the 1960’s, John’s predictions could have saved lives by seeing a design flaw in the blueprints of the Scorpion and Thresher submarines. This was the worst disaster in naval history. John found a mistake on his own military contracts and commented to his in-house Military Inspectors when they asked him about another company that had the sub contracts., they wanted to hold him guilty of breach of contract. He went before the military tribunal as he refused to send off the machines without being in perfect working order. Later, the Thresher and Scorpion sank during sea trials and he was proved right.
John has also invented some ‘impossible’ things, which seem to be his specialty. While at the Choate School, he was acquainted with George and Igor Sikorsky (the sons on the helicopter inventor) and they peaked his interest in aerospace. Because of these connections, he invented a measuring device that keeps our airplanes safe- even today. He was 17. Because of this success and interest in aerospace design, he later became an engineer at Douglas Aerospace.
To add to his collection of inventions, John Ellis also created a micro switch that operates on-off within .0001 of an inch- about 1/40th of a human hair thickness- for military/industrial use. According to Honeywell to ITT, “He’s the only person in the world that knows how to produce it in volume.”
And if his inventions were not enough, he’s also a world record reverse curl record in his 70’s- which he did without steroids and very little lifting. He has accomplished this because of his knowledge of efficiency and energy.