The year was 1966. Marie Van Brittan Brown made history when she became responsible for an invention that would forever protect and safeguard one’s property. She patented the first home security system. Brown is also credited with the invention of the closed circuit TV.
Brown, who was born and raised in Queens, New York, was inspired to invent a type of mechanism that would lock and keep a home safe. At the time, the crime rate in Queens was very high. She worked as a nurse and her husband, Albert Brown was an electronics technician. Their work hours were not the standard 9-5 hours. When police were contacted, the response to their complaints was slow.
The security system originally consisted of peepholes, monitors, a speaker and two-way communication. The final element was a button that can be pressed to contact the police immediately. Three peepholes were used for different height levels. Heigh level peepholes for tall person, lower peepholes for children and peepholes placed at the middle for anyone at average height. At the opposite end of the door, a camera was attached and would slide up and down to accommodate person looking through the peephole. The camera captured images on the monitor via a wireless system. The monitor could be placed anywhere at the home to see who is at the door.
The security system also included a vocal component where the person at home could talk to the person outside. If the person look unfamiliar, such as like an intruder, the button would be pressed and police would be contacted immediately. If the visitor was a welcome or expected person, the door would become unlocked via a remote control.
Marie and her husband filed for the patent in August 1966 and was approved on December 2, 1966.
There have been updates or later models to the security system. The Browns’ security has been reference by many inventors, as recently as 2013.
Marie Van Brittan Brown is the mother of two children. One of her children, Norma, went on to become a nurse and an inventor, following in her mother’s footsteps.