In 1911, Charles Gates asked his new bride, Hazel, to pool her saving with his so that he could by a mail order company that was advertised in the business. For 3,500 USD he bought a company that had only one product, hardly any customers, and too much stock. Instead of giving up, he persisted and turned it into a global corporation that leads in the engineering of automotive parts like belts, hoses, water pumps, and performance equipment. This is the story of the Gates Corporation.
In 1911, Charles invited his brother, John, into the business and together they found out that the leather Durable Tread tire cover was a good product. In 1917, John invented the V-belt out of rubber to replace the standard hemp and leather belts found in automobile engines. Over the years, more inventions followed, including products made from synthetic rubber, a material the Gates corporation helped create.
After Charles died in 1961, Charles, Jr. took over the company and attempted to lead it with his father’s fearlessness and innovation. However, Gates experienced a recession in the 70s that forced it out of the tire industry. It rallied during the 80s and 90s, buying several other corporations.
In 1995, the Gates family sold the company to Tomkins plc of London. Global expansion followed so that the Gates corporation is prepared to tackle another century’s worth of innovation in many industries, including that of automotive parts.