The Origin of Home Security Systems

| Posted by Tim Smythe in Home Security General | Home Security Monitoring | Home Security Systems

Origin of Home Security

Medieval Security: While it is difficult to know what the first home security system was, some may speculate that the first sophisticated security systems where built (or dug up) in the medieval times. Moats were dug up around castles as a way to help increase security of the property by keeping everyone from thieves to foreign invaders off the property and ensure that royals and their subjects were very well protected. Back then wealthy royalty understood the importance of a monitored home security system. They had armed guards patrol and monitor the property day and night, ready to respond with force to any disturbance or suspicious activity. Siege towers were constructed to house guards and give them a great view of the property.

The concept of securing a property hasn’t changed much since, it starts with the realization and acceptance of potential risk and putting things in a place to mitigate dangers. In the medieval times moats and armed guards were put in place to reduce risk of intrusion and increase peace of mind. Today home security systems are designed to accomplish similar if not the same tasks.

Technology has played a very big role in how home security systems have evolved over the years, specifically the discovery of electricity has been a particularly important of almost everything aspect of human life including home security systems.

The Magnetic Contact sensor

Fast forward to 1853 when the first electro magnetic alarm patent was issued to a man named Augustus R Pope in Massachusetts, and just like that the magnetic contact sensor was available for public use. The magnetic contacts were installed on doors and windows and upon opening a door the sensor would send a signal to an alarm. Monitoring was not included or available in 1853 but these sirens served as deterrents and effectively prevented burglaries. At the time alarm systems was mainly used by businesses and wealthy New York residents, because they were probably expensive.

Monitored Security systems: As time passed, alarm systems technology improved and as electro magnetic sensors got more advanced, security system users also got more sophisticated with business demanding that their security systems be connected to the local police. Business owners would even install magnetic contact sensors on safe’s, vaults, etc. but wanted something that could notify the police if the property was breached by intruders.

In 1876 a Scottish born inventor Graham Bell made the first phone call to his assistant in the next room. In the 1870’s  young inventors and scientists like Graham were fascinated and inspired by the creation of electricity that industries spawned from the discovery. One of those industries was the telephone industry and one of those inventors Graham Bell.

Combining security systems with electronic communication like telephones and telegraphs is how monitored security systems came about. Dr. William Channing developed the first monitored fire alarm system on record in 1852, it was first operated in Boston.

Monitored alarm systems have helped reduce property loss, improve peace of mind and the possibility of stolen belongings being recovered, so it made sense that business owners and home owners alike would’ve upgraded their current security systems to monitored security systems. The idea behind using central monitoring centers to monitor multiple security alarms instead of just local alarm response, is said to have been introduced by E.A Callahan in 1871. Central monitoring stations are still being used till this day and are the reason why more and more people use security systems today.

Over a century after the first monitored fire alarm we now have more other ways to connect to the central monitoring station,  we now have internet and cellular based connections to the central monitoring station provided users with safer and more reliable ways to connect to the central monitoring station.

Central Monitoring Stations are capable of responding to multiple alarms at the same time, which meant an increase in security monitoring subscriptions which in turn helped drastically reduce the price of monitoring services paid per user resulting in a boom in the home security industry, an industry that continued to grow into the 21st century. I should be noted that an increase in property crime over may have also added to the growth of the security system industry.

Popularity of home security systems in the 21st Century:

A lot has changed in the home security system industry but some things have stayed the same, home security system users still want peace of mind, magnetic contact sensors are the most popular security devices and monitored systems through phone lines are still dominant. With that said the changes and improvements over the years are vast as consumers have so many more options available to them. There seems to be a home security system for every income level so more and more people are able to secure their homes and business. They way people interact with their security systems has changed too and continues to improve, with everything from touch screen control-panels to the ability to remotely control the system from their smartphones to touch screen devices. Home security companies are now providing 24 hour monitoring as a basic standard to their subscribers all over the country. The home security industry is a $20 billion industry with a lot of room for growth since only 20% of homes in the United States have a home security system.

There are now 100’s if not thousands of central monitoring stations in the U.S responding to alarm events all over the country.

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