where is turnstile from


When we think of turnstiles, we usually associate them with pedestrian access control points at stadiums, amusement parks, and public transportation stations. Turnstiles are an essential part of crowd control and security systems, effectively funneling people into designated areas and preventing unauthorized entry or exit. However, have you ever wondered where turnstiles come from and how they evolved over time? In this article, we delve into the history and geography of turnstiles, exploring their various designs and applications.

Early Origins of Turnstiles

Turnstiles can trace their roots back to ancient times when the concept of a rotating barrier was used in bridges, fortifications, and temples. For instance, the Greeks and Romans had turning gates called "horns" that allowed one person to pass at a time while restricting access to others. Similarly, revolving doors have been around since the 19th century, and they work on the same principle of allowing only one person to go through at a time, minimizing drafts, and conserving energy.

The Modern Turnstile

The modern turnstile as we know it today originated in Britain during the Industrial Revolution. One of the earliest recorded turnstiles was patented by a watchmaker named Thomas Chubb in 1818, who designed a barrier with a revolving horizontal paddle that moved in a fixed vertical frame. Chubb's turnstile had a lock attached to it, and it was primarily used to control access to private estates, museums, and zoos.

Later on, other inventors came up with different variations of the turnstile, such as the three-arm design patented by an American named Whitcomb Judson in 1884. Judson's turnstile incorporated a locking mechanism that allowed an attendant to release the barrier when a patron inserted a coin or token. This invention paved the way for the coin-operated turnstiles used in subway systems, fairs, and other public areas.

Types of Turnstiles

Today, there are several types of turnstiles in use, each with its distinctive features, advantages, and applications. Here are some of the most common turnstile types:

1. Full-height Turnstiles - These turnstiles are designed to provide maximum security and can incorporate a variety of technologies such as biometric readers, card access control, and barcode scanners. Full-height turnstiles usually have a height ranging from 6 to 8 feet, and they are ideal for high-security areas such as prisons and military facilities.

2. Waist-high Turnstiles - These turnstiles are the most common and are typically seen in public transportation stations, amusement parks, and sporting events. Waist-high turnstiles are designed to prevent unauthorized access, and they allow for faster throughput than full-height turnstiles.

3. Optical Turnstiles - These turnstiles use infrared or laser beams to detect and count people passing through them. Optical turnstiles are often used in corporate and government buildings as they provide a sleek, sophisticated look.

4. Tripod Turnstiles - These turnstiles have three rotating arms that function like a revolving door. Tripod turnstiles are mostly used in entrances and exits that require minimal traffic control or where aesthetics are a priority.

Where are Turnstiles Made?

Today, turnstiles are manufactured in various countries worldwide, including the United States, China, Germany, and Italy. The countries that produce the most turnstiles are China and Taiwan, primarily due to lower production costs and high demand. Many U.S. companies that supply turnstiles use Chinese manufacturers to keep costs low and maintain a competitive edge.

Final Thoughts

Turnstiles have come a long way since their ancient origins, and today, they serve as critical components of security and access control systems. From full-height turnstiles to waist-high turnstiles, the technology has advanced to accommodate specific needs. Although they may seem like ordinary barriers, turnstiles are crucial in public safety and can be seen in various locations worldwide.


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