Mallas is author (together with Evered Kreimer) of The Messier Album, one of the first and most comprehensive books on the objects in Messier's catalog, where he contributed eyepiece descriptions and many drawings of the Messier objects. This work had first been run as a series 41 articles in the magazine Sky and Telescope between May, 1967 and September, 1970. Most of these observations had been made with his 4-inch f/15 Unitron refractor, from Covina, California, during the years 1958-62.
Around 1965, John Mallas found the identity of Messier's M40 with the double star Winnecke 4 (see Winnecke's Catalog), published in a letter to Sky and Telescope (Mallas 1966).
Mallas started as an amateur astronomer in Des Moines, Iowa where he utilzed the facilities of Drake University. Later he used his 4-inch Unitron refractor from Covina, California; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Scottsdale, Arizona; and finally from Perry, Iowa. The Messier Object survey was part of a more extensive visual sky survey. Mallas' astronomical work included systematic examination of double stars, clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.
John Mallas passed away on October 7, 1975, after a long illness.