PART OF THE ARTICLE THAT APPEARED IN THE SPERRY NEWS LETTER ON THE RETIREMENT OF MY GRANDFATHER, JUNE 8th 1959
MR. H.C. DRAKE HONORED
On June 8th, a testimonial dinner was held at the Hawley Manor Inn in Newtown, Connecticut. It wasn't a "run of the mill" dinner - at least not to the employees of Sperry. Rather, it was one of very special significance to those of us who have had the pleasure of working with, knowing or even having met Mr. H.C. Drake. For most of us present, this dinner represented, in a small way to be sure, one way we could convey our appreciation and good wishes to the man who has done so much for Sperry. About 70 well-wishers were in attendance at this gala occasion which marked the official retirement of Mr. Drake - a creative gentleman who has been associated in some way with Sperry for the past 42 years, plus. As was pointed out, he started working with the founder of our company, Dr. E. A. Sperry, in 1916 and was instrumental in the research and development of a countless number of new products (not least of which is our present Rail Detector Car). Eighty-one patents have been registered by this man - almost an average of two a year for the time he spent with Sperry. It was pointed out during the course of the evening that this average would undoubtedly be higher if the "leaves of absence" were counted as time not with the company.
The master of ceremonies, Mr. Jack McCann, introduced a few impromptu speakers who very well and very simply expressed the feelings of all those present. Among these few was Mr. George Jewell who presented Mr. Drake with a camera from the management and employees of Sperry. Mr. E. A. Sperry, Jr. recalled the days when Mr. Drake first became associated with, his famous father, Dr. Sperry.
Mr. Sperry mentioned the automatic transmission invented and patented by Mr. Drake. This invention was so far ahead of the automotive industry at the time of its invention that the public and automobile manufacturers could not be induced to accept it. (Incidentally, the same principle is in use today on some of our modern automobiles. )