Microphone Man-18

Part 18

Gates Turntables

Gates Radio Company of Quincy, Illinois was a major manufacturer of broadcast equipment for many decades going back to 1922. In 1957 Gates was bought out by Harris Corporation which kept the Gates name until 1975 when it changed to Harris. Gates, and later under Harris, the company built a full line of equipment for radio including audio and transmitting equipment.

In the late 50s Gates developed a new line of broadcast turntables that used a unique drive system. Most “rim-drive” turntables up to this time were driven on the inner surface of the outer rim. Gates moved the drive mechanism to an inner solid hub nearer the center of the table. This change reduced the rumble to a much lower level due to the lower motor speed requirement.

The newly designed unit had a convenient gear-shift style speed change lever and a silent rocker-type on-off switch. Gates claimed that you could start the table by the switch or the shift knob and either way there would be no jerk or jarring of the stylus on the record.

These beautiful turntables were used in hundreds of radio and TV stations back in that bygone era.
Gates offered a 16 inch and a 12 inch version of these turntables. More and more stations in the late 50s were ditching their older 16 inch tables for the smaller units because there was less need for playing the large old-style transcriptions. The smaller units took up less space in the crowded control rooms. A 12 inch turntable with a longer pickup arm could still play the 16 inch records, if needed.

Gates built some very fine quality equipment that sold for reasonable prices.