In 1885 he formed a partnership with Edwin Lowe, but this was short-lived, being dissolved on 8 October 1888, and in 1889 he formed his own business, based in a premises on Charlotte Road in Sheffield, which built some 90 new organs and also some restorations.
He was influenced by the German organ builder, Johann Friedrich Schulze, and adopted his style in the manufacture of Diapasons, which give Keates organs their distinctive tone.
The largest organ built by the company was in 1931 for Uppingham School, which had 44 stops and 3 manuals.
In 1950 the company was absorbed into Harris Organs in Birmingham.
- Some Sheffield Organs. A millennium Survey. Colin W Andrews. 2001
- The Oxford Gazette: . 16 October 1888. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- This article contains information retrieved from the German Wikipedia.