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Marie Van Brittan Brown: Inventor of Home Security

Marie Van Brittan Brown - Inventor of Home Security

“Innovation knows no boundaries; it is the gateway to a better future.” – Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown’s innovative mind and spirit led her to become a pioneer in home security by inventing the first home surveillance system. Her invention became a “gateway to a better future” by leading the way to modern security systems and security technologies we use today.

Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922-1999), an African American nurse, needed a way to feel more secure in her home and community. The Browns lived in Jamaica Queens, New York; neither Brown nor her husband, Albert, who was an electronic technician, worked a standard 9-5 day. In a neighborhood with high crime, Brown invented a system to increase her home and personal security.

In 1966, Brown enlisted her husband and built a home security system that allowed her to see who was outside door without physically being at the door. Brown’s invention became known as a “closed-circuit television” (CCTV) security system. The home security system included:

  • Four peepholes allowing Brown to see people at different heights.
  • A sliding camera to capture visitors’ images.
  • Television monitors to display the camera feed.
  • Two-way microphones allowing Brown to talk to the visitor.
  • A remote control to unlock the door without needing to stand at the door.
  • An emergency button to contact the police.

Brown received a patent for her invention, “Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance,” in 1969 (U.S. Patent number 3,482,037). Since the original patent was granted, Brown’s influence and patent has been referenced in 35 U.S. patent applications.

n 1969, days after Brown received her patent, her invention was reported in The New York Times as a significant concept. ““With the patented system, a woman alone in the house could alarm the neighborhood immediately by pressing a button, and installed in a doctor’s office it might prevent holdups by drug addicts.” And although it is unknown when, the National Scientists Committee regonized Brown for her invention and gave her an award.

Today, we see the inspiration of Brown’s invention helping people feel safe and more secure in the home, work, and at play and more. Modern security systems use video monitoring, alarm systems, keyless door locks and entry, real-time communication with visitors, police or security companies. Anyone using a security system has Marie Van Brittan Brown to thank.

“Empowerment starts with believing in your own abilities to make a difference.”

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Watch this video by NeeQ Vision and learn more about Marie Van Brittan Brown.

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