AskDefine | Define turnstile

Dictionary Definition

turnstile n : a gate consisting of a post that acts as a pivot for rotating arms; set in a passageway for controlling the persons entering

User Contributed Dictionary



turn (rotating) + stile (gate)


  1. A rotating mechanical device that controls and counts passage between public areas, especially one that only allows passage after a charge has been made.


rotating mechanical device

Extensive Definition

A turnstile, also called a baffle gate, is a form of gate which allows one person to pass at a time. It can also be made so as to enforce one-way traffic of people, and in addition, it can restrict passage to people who insert a coin, a ticket, a pass, or similar. Thus a turnstile can be used in the case of paid access (sometimes called a faregate when used for this purpose), for example public transport as a ticket barrier or a pay toilet, or to restrict access to authorized people, for example in the lobby of an office building.

History and applications

Turnstiles were originally used, like other forms of stile, to allow human beings to pass whilst keeping sheep or other livestock penned in. The use of turnstiles in most modern applications has been credited to Clarence Saunders, who used them in his first Piggly Wiggly store.
Turnstiles often use ratchet mechanisms to allow the rotation of the stile in one direction allowing ingress but preventing rotation in the other direction. They are often designed to operate only after a payment has been made, usually by inserting a coin or token in a slot; or by swiping, or inserting, a paper ticket or electronically encoded card.
Turnstiles are often used for counting the numbers of people passing through a gate, even where payment is not involved. They are used extensively in this manner in amusement parks, in order to keep track of how many people enter and exit the park and ride each ride. The first major use of turnstiles at a sporting venue was at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. It is common for entry to public lavatories in the United Kingdom to be controlled by turnstiles.
The High Entrance/Exit Turnstile (HEET), a larger version of the turnstile, similar in operation to a revolving door, is known as an "iron maiden", after the medieval torture device of the same name, or as "high-wheel". It is sometimes called a "Rotogate", especially in Chicago, where they are used at unstaffed exits of their El stations. In Europe, however, "Rotogate" refers to a different kind of gate that is not a turnstile.

Turnstiles in Russia

In the public transportation systems of the Soviet Union, the only common use of turnstiles was at the entrance to subway stations (first introduced in Moscow Metro on November 7, 1958). City buses and commuter trains usually operated on the honor system. But as fare collection became a more pressing business in post-Soviet Russia, railway terminals and high-traffic railway station in the Moscow area, Nizhny Novgorod and elsewhere had turnstiles installed.
In the early 2000s, Moscow authorities went one step further in their quest to improve fare collection: since enclosing all bus and streetcar stops and providing them with fare gates would not be feasible, the authorities resorted to installing turnstiles inside each city bus and streetcar. This practice has caused numerous passenger complaints as it reduced the speed of boarding, compared to the traditional honor system.

See also


External links

turnstile in German: Zugangsautomat
turnstile in French: Portillon d'accès
turnstile in Italian: Tornello
turnstile in Dutch: Tourniquet (draaihek)
turnstile in Japanese: 自動改札機
turnstile in Portuguese: Catraca
turnstile in Russian: Турникет
turnstile in Chinese: 驗票閘門

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

French door, archway, back door, barway, bulkhead, carriage entrance, cellar door, cellarway, door, doorjamb, doorpost, doorway, front door, gate, gatepost, gateway, hatch, hatchway, lintel, porch, portal, porte cochere, postern, propylaeum, pylon, scuttle, side door, stile, storm door, threshold, tollgate, trap, trap door, turnpike
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1