The Woman Behind The Home Security System

Thanks to her, our minds can be at ease…
The Woman Behind The Home Security System

Ever hear a noise near your front door and hope someone isn’t creeping their way into your home? A relatable feeling and even more frightening when it happens, many rely on a home security set up to avoid the scenario in the first place, while taking for granted its usage. Who can be credited for our modern home security system so you can fall asleep at night? Well, it all began with an idea by Marie Van Brittan Brown.

Genius since 1922.


Marie Van Brittan Brown, a Black woman born in 1922 from Jamaica, Queens, worked as a nurse in the New York City borough. Often finding herself home alone at night, she decided she’d feel safer if there was a way to see incoming visitors. Her husband worked as an electronics technician, and their schedules differed. So, in 1966, a 43-year-old Brown illustrated a diagram of her vision of a security system that included several components

She is intricate, she is beauty

The drawing had four peepholes, a button to unlock the door, a two-way microphone, a sliding camera, and television monitors. The microphone was useful as it would allow outsiders to communicate with the resident. An emergency button was also present to call security -- in human form that is, in case you needed backup taking down the neighborhood angry cat, in which case you’d need physical authority to help you out. According to Lemelson MIT, "These items created a closed-circuit television system for surveillance also known as CCTV.”

The story continues with Brown and her husband taking out a patent later in 1966. Come 1969, and the patent was awarded to them. And come decades later until today, most models for home security systems have borrowed from Brown's original thinking. Now, when you are at home, safely tucked in bed knowing the outside world (hopefully) won't be bothering you, you have Marie Van Brittan Brown to thank. And who knows – maybe the next generation's security genius will find a way to prevent creepy shadows of branches from peeking into our windows at night. 

Top Image: Shutterstock

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