My two Drakes. Above, a No. 700, 60 watt version. Below, a No. 804, 100 Watt iron.
As near as I can determine, the Drake Electric Works, Inc. was founded in Chicago in 1917 by William J.A. Kuehl. An old piece of correspondence found on the web shows that the company name was taken from a male duck. Given that the instruction booklet above states, "In our thirty years experience...", it must date from the late 40's. $15 for the Model 900 was a lot of money back then (equivalent in today's purchasing power to about $160!) so they obviously catered to the premium market. Advertisements for the company's soldering products disappear from mechanic's magazines after the 1950's, at which point Drake must have become a lame duck. Too bad, because who else offered a "durable maroon plastic case?"