|Source : Booklet compiled and edited by Jan Apetz
Published by Gatsometer BV. on the occasion of its
30th anniversary February 12th, 1988
Rewritten by Michael Allen, November 1996.
Additions by Ben Uijtenhaak, December 1998.
The successful competition driver will drive as quickly as his car and
conditions permit: his reward for finishing first being a trophy, a garland
and nowadays a substantial cash price. However, should he attempt to drive
at similar speeds on public roads, this same driver will be rewarded instead
with a heavy fine and suspension of his licence: this contrast simply reflecting
that a competitive attitude is wholly inappropriate for the road.
In times long gone, hand-held stopwatches were police-officer's principle
weapon against the speeding driver. But in many cases the combination of
the officer's finger on the button, whilst his eyes were focussed on two
distant timing points, gave unreliable, and therefore unfair results.
The first Gatsometer, consisting of two rubber tubes set across the
road a precise distance apart, and linked to a mechanical stopwatch, saw
the end of this period of justifiable doubt. Technology had been applied
for the first time to eliminate human error.
Almost 40 years later, today Gatsometer is a world-renowned supplier
of highly sophisticated electronic and photographic traffic control equipment.
The constant pursuit of perfection has been the driving force which has
seen this situation come about.
Sensational at the time, the rubber tubes system was indeed advanced,
but mechanical time-measuring equipment had limited scope. Electronics,
later coupled to camera systems, superseded the tubes and mechanical clocks.
And today Gatsometer employ 28 specialists designing and producing radar
systems and red-traffic-light cameras for the Dutch home market, whilst
exporting to 40 other countries around the world.
In the beginning, the tubes system created much ill-will. Angry Dutch
drivers, unused to this more efficient method of speed-control, pointed
an accusing finger at inventor Maurice Gatsonides - the well-known "Gatso"
of racing and rally-driving fame.
Had he not always ignored speed limits throughout his motoring career
? And now, he, of all people, had developed this Gatsometer ! But it quickly
became clear that no one other than Gatso himself, so thoroughly versed
in split-second timing during his long competition-driving career, and
always with his eyes wide open to the unbelievably fast growth in general
road traffic, could attempt to replace the dubious methods used to curb
The trademark "Gatsometer" appeared on the very first equipment he supplied,
And today there are no longer any doubts whatsoever about the benefits
of Gatsometer products. The ideals of ex-rally driver Gatso, who owes many
of his competition successes to purpose-built watches and all sorts of
home-made timing contraptions, have for almost 40 years indeed contributed
to safer and more orderly traffic.
Realization of these ideals undoubtedly rests on the fact that Gatsometer
is a small family business, founded by Gatso and his wife Ciska, who have
shared "better" and "worse" times. A 7-day working week often accounting
for 100 hours for Gatso meant the couple forgot the meaning of the word
holiday as they built the business up. For 25 years, Ciska took care of
the administration, to be succeeded by daughter-in-law Rosalie, wife of
son and co-director Tom Gatsonides. The 28 employees also enjoy the atmosphere
of this relatively small organization, where staff tends to stay, everyone
enjoying their job, working hard and enthusiastically to ensure that each
and every Gatsometer a technically superior product.
You have now met them all - the Gatsonides family and their fellow-workers.
Maurice Gatsonides :
Life has its milestones. My first recorded venture in this world is dated
February 14th, 1911, the day I was born in the former Dutch colony of Indonesia.
The second has 1934 written on it - the year I received my certificate
of Flight-engineer from KLM.
The following milestones were the gas-generators with which I kept cars,
draglines, tractors and many other combustion engines turning during World
War II, when no liquid fuel was available for Dutch consumption; the presentation
of the Gatso 4000 Aero-Coupé sportscar at the Dutch Motorshow 1948;
winning the Monte Carlo Rally 1953; the first Gatsometer in 1958; ending
my motorsports-career in 1968.
And then, in 1988, the milestone of the 30-years' Jubilee, marking the
road I travelled with so much enjoyment, pushed by my motto : "It can be
I am now certain that a persistent belief in that motto has led to success.
In 1984, good friends decided that this should be remembered, and put
into effect the foundation of the Gatso-Gallery in the National Automobile
Museum at Raamsdonkveer in the Netherlands, where all the trophies and
souvenirs of my motoring career are exhibited. They also decided that my
motto "It can be done" should be symbolized at Gatsometer's 30-years' Jubilee.
Their choice was a bronze head, sculpted by Lancelot Samson, and which
was unveiled by HRH Prince Bernhard and my youngest grandson, Jim, on February
Things like that affect one's emotions. And because of all the attention
our Jubilee attracted, two days before my 77th birthday, this milestone
is imprinted indelibly on my memory.
And, don't forget : IT CAN BE DONE !
Tom Gatsonides :
Born in 1943, during the gasgenerator period 1940-1945, when my father
proved that not only petrol can keep combustion engines turning, and growing
up amongst fast sportscars, I was allowed to assist him for the first time
in 1953, at 10 years of age.
With me strapped to the passenger-seat, concentrating on three stopwatches,
we practiced twice a day for six weeks for the decisive mountain-test of
the Monte Carlo Rally. During the rally, jumping out of hiding, I had to
throw buckets of water at the red-hot front brakedrums of his Ford Zephyr
when the anchors had given up. That also helped him to win that year.
Later, having finished technical highschool and an officers-training
course in the Dutch Airforces, I assisted him in the production and installation
of Gatso swim-timers in Holland and many other countries all over the globe.
These systems were based on the same principle as the rubber tube-detectors
of our speed control equipment, and originated due to the much criticized
timing troubles during the 1964 Olympic Games at Rome, which came to a
climax in the 100 meters mens' race, when clearly a wrong conclusion decided
between the first two arrivals.
Our timing-systems were produced for swimming pools in some 30 countries.
We also produced and installed electronic scoreboards for sports and other
events. Eventually the fast growth of traffic demanded all our attention.
I am proud of having been able to contribute to the expansion of our
company where 28 specialists join hands to make traffic safer.
As co-director I will keep my sights on meeting the fast-growing traffic
and the means to keep its risks in hand.
These means of course bear the name GATSOMETER !
At home and all over the world, specialists in traffic control equipment.