Frederick R. Drake, founder of The Drake Company, a worldwide leader in industrial food loading equipment, died November 15 at his home. He was 92.

The Drake Company is a brand of the Middleby Corporation Food Processing Group.

“We extend our deepest condolences to his family,” said Stephen Nunn, vice president of sales, Middleby Food Processing. “Fred was an innovative mechanical designer and a leader in our industry. His visionary idea to efficiently increase food loading production affects manufacturing lines globally.”


Drake received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Denver at Boulder in 1942 and a master’s in mechanical engineering from the Chrysler Institute. A prolific inventor and designer, he held numerous patents for packaging and mechanical innovations.

Over his 45 year career, he worked as vice president of engineering for a number of U.S. based manufacturing firms before starting his own capital equipment business, F.R. Drake Company, in Afton, Virginia in 1983. The firm, specializing in high-speed packaging solutions, moved to Waynesboro, Virginia in 1995 and was sold in 2005, retaining its name and international reputation.