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The woman who invented the home security system

We pay tribute to Marie Van Brittan Brown on International Women’s Day

It’s probably fair to say that security tends to be male dominated, however on International Women’s Day we are delighted to pay tribute to a woman who has a huge legacy in security and deserves recognition.

Marie Van Brittan Brown was an African-American inventor who, along with her husband Albert Brown, invented a home security system in 1966 because she was concerned about increasing crime in her neighbourhood of Queens, New York, as well as the length of time it would take for the police to respond.  The system they came up with incorporated CCTV and access control and was patented in 1969.

Brown was concerned about answering the door when she couldn’t see who was on the other side so her system had 4 peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look through each one as desired. These images would display on a monitor in a different room and the system also allowed you to unlock the door remotely. All of this was possible via a radio controlled wireless system. You could also use it to raise an alarm. The CCTV and access control systems we use today still use many of the same principles of this first invention and at least 13 patents since have cited Brown’s original patent.

Marie Van Brittan Brown received an award from the National Science Committee for her invention. You can read more about her here.

It’s great to see the contribution that woman have made across all fields, even those we wouldn’t necessarily associate them with.

Happy International Women’s Day