Black history

Today and every other Monday we will be learning relevant, insightful and, practical information about African people who are part of our history because of the difference they have made in our lives as a whole.

Mary Van Brittan Brown – co invented home security system in 1966

Before security systems became a fixture in homes, an African American nurse Mary Van Brittan Brown, devised an early security unit for her own home. She spent many nights at home alone in Queens, New York while her husband was away, and felt unsafe with high rates of crime in her neighbourhood. On top of that, police were unreliable and unresponsive. So she created a device that would help put her mind at ease

In 1966, Brown invented a system that used the camera that could slide into and look through four peepholes in her front door. The camera’s view would then appear on a monitor in her home so she could survey any potentially unwanted guests.

She added other features to the system, including a microphone to speak to anyone at the door, a button to unlock the door, and a button to contact the police. She and her husband took out a patent for the system in the same year, and they were awarded the patent three years later in 1969. Home security systems commonly used today took various elements from her design.

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