Security Systems

Who Invented The Home Security System (And Why)?

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Home security system components on brick wall
This sleekly integrated touchscreen security system may not be around today if it wasn’t for the inventor that came up with this technology over 50 years ago.

In the modern age we live in, it may feel as though most pieces of essential technology like home security systems have always existed. But, just like any other technological advancement, the home security system as we know it had to be imagined and subsequently engineered. In this article, we will take you through a brief but fascinating history of how the very systems that keep us safe each and every night came to be.

Home Security In Ancient Rome

The home security system as we know it today was developed in the 1970s, but the concept of using technology to protect homes and property has a much longer history. The idea of using alarms to protect against intruders dates back at least to ancient Rome, where bells were used to alert residents of danger.

Why Was The Home Security System Invented?

The development of home security systems was driven in part by the increasing crime rates of the time, as well as the desire of homeowners to have a sense of security and protect their property. Today, home security systems are an essential part of many people’s efforts to protect their homes and families, and the technology continues to evolve to meet the changing needs and concerns of homeowners.

Preliminary Security Measures

Before we dive into more modern security configurations, let’s take a look at some earlier examples of alarm systems that made their mark on American society.

In 1853, Augustus Russell Pope invented and patented the first electromagnetic alarm system. His invention utilized an electrical circuit that, when closed by the opening of an entry point, resulted in the ringing of an alarm bell. Created in Boston, the system was battery-operated and could only be switched off by the owner of the home.

This version of the burglar alarm, however, is most commonly attributed to a man named Edwin Holmes, who purchased the rights to Pope’s invention. In 1857, he combined his new purchase with his deft advertising skills to found and market the Holmes Electric Protection Company. This was the first electrical alarm system company.

Marie Van Brittan Brown – African American Inventor

Marie Van Britten Brown
Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922 – 1999) developed a patent for a camera and monitor based home security system in 1966. Her invention laid the groundwork for modern CCTV-based security surveillance systems.

So, when was the first home security system invented? And who masterminded its conception? In 1966, Marie Van Brittan Brown used her ingenuity alongside her husband’s vast knowledge of electronics to create the first instance of a modern security system.

African American inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown was working odd shifts as a nurse while living in Jamaica, Queens with her husband. The pair often found themselves operating on opposing schedules, meaning that Marie was left alone late into the night. A string of serious crimes in the area left her feeling uneasy and unsafe in her neighborhood, so Marie took it upon herself to create a device that would allow her to see visitors without needing to open her door.

Much more than a guard dog, Marie’s invention consisted of the motorized video camera hooked up to 4 peepholes designed to allow the viewer to observe visitors of various heights. The sliding camera is also connected to television monitors and 2-way microphones. This combination of devices created a closed-circuit television system (also known as CCTV) that was not yet widely utilized by the general public. It also notably marked the first time that a door could be opened via remote control.

By 1969, Marie had obtained a patent for her ingenious invention. Both the National Scientists Committee and the New York Times recognized Marie’s impressive work. Her vision of the modern security system not only laid the groundwork for even more security advancement in the future, but it also continues to be used in numerous different types of systems. From homes to banks, facilities with varying security needs still rely on Marie’s miraculous combination of technology and imagination to keep their families, employees, and assets safe.

Modern Additions To Home Security

As home security systems became more popular, various features and technologies were added to make them more effective and user-friendly. For example, many modern home security systems include features such as remote monitoring and control, which allow homeowners to check on their homes and arm or disarm the system remotely using a smartphone or other device.

Other common features of modern home security systems include cameras and video surveillance, which can be used to monitor activity inside and outside the home, as well as detect and deter burglaries and other crimes. Some systems also include environmental sensors that can detect smoke, fire, or carbon monoxide, which can be used to protect against accidents and disasters.

In addition to these traditional security features, many modern home security systems also offer a range of home automation capabilities, such as the ability to control lighting, thermostats, and other appliances remotely. This can make it easier for homeowners to manage their homes and save energy, as well as provide added convenience and comfort.

Overall, the development of home security systems has been driven by a combination of factors, including the need to protect homes and property from crime, as well as the desire of homeowners to have greater control over their living spaces and the ability to monitor and protect their homes remotely.

What’s The Best Home Security System Today?

Innovation for modern home security systems took off in the early 2000’s when integrated cellular technology and provided the consumer market’s first real DIY home security system. Today there are dozens of providers vying for your hard earned dollars, offering everything from smart thermostats to high definition video doorbell cameras. But who comes out on top with the best technology and most affordable cost? Find out as our experts compare 16 providers in our home security systems reviews.

Alex Schenker

Alex holds BS degrees in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego, and Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is honored to share his nearly two decades of experience in home security and automation, cybersecurity and identity theft protection with our readers. He realized it was time for a home security system when his neighbor’s house got broken into. He has tried to stay ahead of the curve by proactively applying security technologies and software that protect not only his home and family but his personal identity, sensitive information and finances. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing tennis, going on hikes with his wife and dogs and surfing.

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