While it may appear to be a product of the 21st century, Home security is actually as old as the human race. Just as a toddler yells “Mine!” over any attempt to borrow their toys, the intuitive sense of property is ingrained in every one of us.
The moment we assign a value to any material in our possession, the fear of loss becomes very real.
Today, the advancement and innovations in home security options have enabled a wide variety of systems that can be built to fit your lifestyle and your family's needs.
But when did all of this begin? The story behind home security is actually very interesting and goes beyond what you might expect.
Home security in the early years
Survival is probably one of mankind's most primitive instincts. And the instinct to protect ones’ own is an extension of this instinct.
Back in the Stone Age, cavemen would use sticks, stones or anything else they could get their hands on to keep predators away.
These would eventually develop into weapons of defense and defense would evolve from reactive to proactive and here marks the onset of home security.
The use of guard animals also began in this era. Domesticated wolves used for hunting or herding, served their masters as a loyal guard.
This was probably the first form of home security, which sent an alert out to people within close proximity, very similar to the burglar alarm system of today.
Home security in the middle ages
With moats, drawbridges and armed guards, home security in the Middle Ages sure was all about the drama. Early European and Chinese built their towns on top of hills or constructed walls along their boundaries to make the approach difficult.
Remnants of these walled cities and forts remain throughout the world to this day as a testament to the human fixation with security.
The birth of modern Home security
Let us now fast forward to just a couple of centuries ago, and the advent of the modern Home security.
While there were a few breakthroughs previously, the most significant turn of events took place towards the end of the 18th century, as a result of the discovery of electromagnetic fields and electricity.
Here is a short run through on the milestones of the development of home security into the advanced systems we know today.
An Englishman named Mr. Tildesley is credited as the inventor of the first intruder alarm system. This crude device worked on a concept of mechanically linking the door lock with an apparatus that would make a sound like a bell. This would sound a ring when someone forced or attempted to open the locks.
Though crude by comparison to what we have today, this was a turning point and laid the track for further development.
In 1850 an inventor from Boston, Augustus Pope, through the application of magnetic force and electricity, succeeded in creating a primitive version of today’s burglar alarm. As soon as an intruder broke open the lock of a door or window, this would close the electrical circuit sounding the alarm.
The feature that set Pope’s invention apart was that the alarm would remain ringing even when the door or window was closed. This ensured the owner of the home or the neighbors were notified. Augustus Pope was awarded a patent for this invention in 1853.
Edwin Holmes purchased this patent from Augustus Pope and began manufacturing and distributing the system in 1857. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of manufacturing, Home security had to be a luxury of only the elite.
Subsequently, by the beginning of the next century, American Telegraph and Telephone (AT & T) bought out Holmes’ burglar alarm business and connected it with emergency call services.
The end of World War I in 1918 led to a rise in crime rate. Consequently, home security became a common concern. A service named “door shakers” was introduced, where a group of evening watchmen would shake the handles on the doors in a neighborhood to make sure it was locked every night
The actual birthplace of the modern security system is actually the humble residence of Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband Albert. Necessity is the mother of all invention. As Marie worked as a nurse and worked a lot of nights, the couple was very anxious about the risks of crime in their neighborhood.
Marie and Albert worked together to develop a system that would suit their needs. And in spite of facing multiple hurdles, they invented the first surveillance system with an old television set and a camera. The camera was even adjustable to look through four separate viewing points.
This system was so advanced that it also used radio signals to transfer the image from the back door camera to the television in the bedroom. Marie and Albert also fitted it with a switch that would send a signal to neighbors and the police and another switch which enabled them to open the door for their visitors. The couple filed for a patent of this incredible invention in 1966.
Home security systems were lifted to a new level with the application of ultrasound and infra-red technology. Alarms with motion sensing and automation were introduced into the market.
The most marked development of this decade was the drastic fall in the cost of home security systems. This made leaps in popularizing the system as it was now affordable and accessible to most families.
On June 29th if 2007, Apple introduced the first generation iPhone. This proliferated the generation of Smart technology and since then there has been no looking back. This wireless technology made it possible for users to control every aspect of their security system from miles away.
Video feeds can be viewed remotely and alarms and locks can be engaged or disengaged with just a swipe of your hand. Technology has also so advanced to enable identification through biometric and facial recognition software. Also, unlike the security systems of the 19th century, currently all data is uploaded to the cloud directly, enabling unlimited access.
The need for home security is not going away anytime soon. Thankfully, the technology improves at a rate that matches up to our changing lifestyle and requirements.
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