Deceased, Founder and Former President, Morse Signal Devices
Morse Signal Devices Is Born
In 1922, after the apartment above the family food store where Morris Weinstock, 12, and brother Jack, 11, lived in Cleveland was burglarized, Morris rigged up a set of batteries and a button hidden under the counter to a bell in the apartment upstairs to call for help. This was his first attempt at a security system. Shift ahead 12 years, and the Weinstock brothers cut a hole through the wall into an adjoining area of the building to use the food store’s phone line to establish their new alarm company — Morse Signal Devices. The name was inspired by telegraph inventor Samuel Morse. The first alarm system they installed was at a dry cleaner across the street.
NBFAA Is Established
The aftermath of World War II resulted in smaller independent alarm companies facing a shortage of bells, electrical contacts and copper wire. Therefore, they needed to join forces. In 1947, Morris Weinstock and Ben Call of Call’s Police Signal Corp. in Boston got together and hired an advertising firm to send letters to 165 U.S.-based independent alarm companies asking if they would join an alarm industry association. About 20 companies attended the first National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) meeting, held February 1948 at Chicago’s Sherman Hotel. It was the first time owners of small independents throughout the country learned of each other’s existence. In 1955, Weinstock was named NBFAA president.
Setting the Stage for CSAA
In late 1949, Morris Weinstock and seven other alarm company operators met at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to form an association of UL-approved central stations that would present their views to the UL and the Casualty Insurance Bureau. The company owners first named the new association the Central Office Protection Association, later the Central Station Electrical Protection Association (CSEPA). Today it is known as the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA). They wrote by-laws that would restrict CSEPA membership to only alarm companies that had only one central station and to only one alarm company per city. This was to eliminate conflict of competitors in the same area and to encourage more open discussions. Through the years, the bylaws were changed to admit more members.
Remembered by Son George Weinstock
“My father would offer advice to anyone seeking it — whether it was a competitor down the road or across the country. He always felt that if everyone in the alarm industry worked together to promote the industry and the work it does, everyone would collectively benefit. If the NBFAA policed the activities, ethics and moral value of its members, every company would be the better for it. Unity, strength and sharing were his bywords. He very much loved what he did and his reputation and honor was very important to him. He respected people and listened carefully to what they had to say. He was also very skilled electronically and knew how things worked, why they worked, and how to make them adaptable to his business. He designed circuits, instituted new ideas and equipment, and was open to any and all new pieces of equipment — often being the first to experiment with them.”
Why He’s Going Into the Hall
- Lifetime of dedicated work to the security alarm industry and co-founder of the leading trade association for installing and monitoring companies
- Primary figure of Weinstock family legacy that has had a profound impact on the security alarm industry
- Launched Morse Signal Devices with brother Jack in 1934 in Cleveland, later moved business to Southern California where it became the largest independent installing and monitoring provider in the West
- Played leading role in launching the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) in 1948, now known as the Electronic Security Association (ESA), and later also served as the organization’s president
- Played key role in formation of the Central Station Electrical Protection Association (CSEPA), which would become today’s Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)
- In 1959, formed new company division, Morse Products Development, and in 1961 formed Morse Product Manufacturing Co.
- In his honor, in 1970 one of the industry’s most prestigious accolades began being annually presented, the Morris F. Weinstock Award, to individuals who also give of themselves to advance the security industry
The Weinstock File