3 Creative Methods of the First Home Security Systems
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Home Security Has Always Been a Major Concern
Castles and Moats
Fortress-like castles, moats, drawbridges and armed patrols helped to prevent attacks from enemies over the centuries. Technically, a moat would still work, but it goes without saying that it has ceased to be practical. But since then, modern man has had to come up with more sophisticated types of security systems.
The first design for a home alarm system was patented in 1853 by Augustus R. Pope, a Unitarian minister from Massachusetts. His design was a simple system of magnetic contacts, electrically wired to an alarm bell.
The contacts were placed on doors and windows and the alarm bell would sound when one of the contacts was broken by the opening of a door or window in the home. The sounding of the alarm was and still is, the main deterrent to a would-be intruder.
However, these early systems had one problem: when the door or window was opened, the alarm would sound, but when the intruder closed the door or window, the bell would stop ringing.
The development of electromagnetic systems became more advanced over time and later systems had the capability to alert law enforcement to break-ins.
The First Monitoring Center
In 1867, Edward A. Calahan was a telegrapher who invented the ticker for gold and stock price changes. After Calahan’s boss was robbed in his own home, Calahan became motivated to invent a system that would protect homeowners like his boss in the future.
The system that he finally invented involved call boxes that would alarm in a neighborhood system, alerting the homeowners within the system of a burglary that might be occurring.
While creating this neighborhood network, he came up with another idea to establish a centralized station that could respond to calls for help. With Calahan’s assistance, the American District Telegraph (ADT) was formed.
The call boxes created by Calahan soon became standard for police, fire, and messenger services. The concept of centralized alarm monitoring helped to greatly reduce response times.
As this technology became more efficient, the cost of a home alarm system was reduced, making it more affordable to more homeowners. It wasn’t until the mid-1950’s that the advent of digital technology changed the industry forever.
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