Gates Rubber, also known as Gates Corporation, is one of the largest non-tire rubber companies in the world. Charles Gates, Sr. purchased the Colorado Tire and Leather Company in 1911 for $3,500. This property became one of the largest non-tire producing rubber facilities in the United States.
The Durable Tread was the first product made in the plant. It was a steel studded band cover that was attached to a bald tire as an alternative to buying new tires. The next products that the company began to produce were automotive and industrial belts and hoses.
Automobiles and industrial machinery used hemp and rope belts but in 1917 his brother developed a belt to replace them. It was made of rubber and woven thread and called a V-belt because of the shape it sat in on an engine block. It was a model for the common serpentine belt. Within a decade Gates Rubber had established itself as with world’s largest manufacture of V-belts.
The first foreign factory was built in 1954 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, and then he began to head south looking for cheaper labor in Mexico. In 1958 he opened the Gates Rubber de Mexico. His first European based factory was built in Belgium in 1963. After 85 years of family ownership, the Gates family sold the company to an engineering firm in 1996. The firm was based in Great Britain and called Tomkins, pic. Gates is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of this company, which is considered Gate’s parent company. The Denver factory was closed.
Today Gate’s serves the customers of the automotive and industrial markets with a full line of hose and belt products. It is the only non-tire producing rubber company with manufacturing operations and sales in all of the world’s major markets. This includes North America, Asia, Europe, South America, and Australia.
Their industrial belts provide power to many different kinds of machines such as rock crushers, copy machines, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and machine tools. Thanks to their coolant hoses, cars, trucks, and heavy equipment engines stay cool in even the harshest conditions.
Some of the markets that use Gates products, in addition to the automotive sector, include agriculture, transportation, mining, factory, construction, office equipment, computer, and the food processing and handling markets.
By 2007, nearly a decade later, some of the buildings had not been used for anything. The original factory is awaiting redevelopment into commercial and residential structures.