Marie Van Brittan Brown – The Inventor of Home Security
November 30th, 2023 | 2 min |
First Home Security System Patent
If the popular TV show, Shark Tank, was around in 1966, African American inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown would have had a unanimous deal with all the Sharks, including Mr. Wonderful, for her invention of the security system, closed-circuit television system, and the automated locking system.
Marie Van Brittan Brown was an African American woman who contributed her livelihood to the invention of the first home security system. She was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York on October 22, 1922, and resided there her whole life. She greatly saw the importance of protection in her area – while being a nurse, having two children, Albert Jr. and Norma, with her husband, Albert Brown, who was an electronic technician.
Unlike most of the medical professionals in her area, she was not working a regular 9-5 shift. Instead, she worked unusual hours and the idea to build a home security system came out of a desire for the safety of their home and family as she felt extremely vulnerable while living in an area with crime rates increasing by the minute. She was constantly finding ways to live a safe lifestyle, but watching how slow police were to respond to emergencies and crime in her neighborhood struck her conscience, and she realized something had to be done.
Marie Van Brittan Brown
Brown, along with the assistance of her husband, invented a system which consisted of four peepholes, a sliding camera, television monitors, and two-way microphones. These items created a surveillance system also known as CCTV. With multiple peepholes, the sliding camera was able to capture images of people who were at different heights. The two-way microphones allowed Marie to communicate with the person outside. Kinda sounds like the video doorbells we have today, doesn’t it?
She also had a remote that would allow her to unlock the door at a safer distance (I would consider that a smart lock). Wow! She was ahead of her time. Lastly, she could press an emergency panic button that would send an alarm to police or security.
Although it made use of existing closed circuit television technology developed during the second world war, Marie Van Brittan Brown’s revolutionary home security was the first of its kind anywhere in the world. In 1969 the patent office acknowledged her as its primary creator. Patent Number 3,482,037. Brown was interviewed by The New York Times in 1969 for her invention and was later granted an award from the National Scientists Committee.
So, now you know the home security technology that millions used to keep themselves, family, and their possessions safe was invented in the mid-60s by an african-american nurse from Jamaica Queens.
Despite her death in 1999, her closed-circuit system is still being referenced by other patents as of 2013, and is cited in 35 U.S. patents.
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