Royal Steam Heater Company History

Four Gardner men, C.O. Bent, Jonah Davis, C.H. Sanborn, and Ellis O. Drake, formed a Massachusetts corporation known as Royal Steam Heater Company in 1889.

The company sold and installed a product known as the Royal Steam Heater, designed to heat homes and small commercial spaces. According to an 1897 special edition of The Gardner News, Heywood Foundry first put the Royal Steam Heater on the market. The principle marketing area for the Royal Steam Heater was Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and southern Vermont. Records show that workers were also dispatched by train to install the boilers in New Jersey and towns in northern Vermont on the Canadian border.

The Continued Growth of Royal Steam Heater Company

Upon the death of Ellis O. Drake in 1924, his son, Harold E. Drake, succeeded to the presidency. Subsequently, oil burner, plumbing, sheet metal, and refrigeration work were added to the repertoire of the company. The added services made Royal Steam Heater Company, a full-fledged mechanical services firm capable of taking on larger installations, domestic, industrial, commercial, and institutional projects.

In 1962, Harold E. Drake, Jr., succeeded to the position of managing officer. Under his leadership, Royal Steam Heater Company began undertaking major piping and sheet metal contracts with the same enthusiasm and confidence as they did for small jobbing work.

Today, President, Jay Drake and his brother David represent the fourth generation of Drakes leading the company. Jay’s oldest son Elliott joined the company in 2009. Jay, David, and Elliott continue to build upon the rich family and company history.

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