Electrical alarm devices have been in existence since the 1850s and have spurred the humble beginnin

Today, since there are central monitoring stations, the need for communication is plainly obvious. However, before security was even thought of as a business, let alone an industry, electronic communication was not necessarily a choice for getting things done.

The idea of protecting property goes back all the way to 1858 when Edwin Holmes bought a patent for the first alarm device. From there, the history of security systems intertwines with the advent of insulated wire in 1870, the telephone which came into existence in 1877, and electricity.

In commemoration of Security Sales’ twentieth anniversary, a brief retrospective on the roots of the alarm industry is in order. This industry, which still is considered fledgling by many, has a long and struggling history.

Pope Invents the First Alarm Device in 1857

The first alarm ever made was created by a gentleman by the name of Augustus R. Pope in the year 1857. If equipped with the device, when any window or door was opened a bell would ring. The alarm worked by sending an electrical current from the window or door that was opened to the bell which could be located in any room of the house, usually the sleeping room.

In 1858, this alarm device became an idea for the basis of property protection in the mind of Edwin Holmes. He purchased the patent from Pope and started selling the crude security system that same year.

Insulated Wire Arrives on the Scene in 1870

The wire part of the system was the only problem. At the time, insulated wire for electrical purposes had not yet been invented. Holmes’ solution was to use copper wire and wrap it with cotton. He accomplished this by taking the wire to a hoop skirt braiding factory that did it for him.

However, in 1870, the treasurer for the Atlantic Tubing Company, a flexible gas tubing manufacturer, began making insulated wire for use with electricity. His name was Eugene Phillips.

This new progression caused Phillips to move his fledgling business out of his house and into a large factory. His new factory produced the insulated wire in bulk amounts and supplied electrical engineers and the like. Phillips’ company became the American Electrical Works and Phillips was president.

More Features are Added to the ‘Alarm System’Other advances beneficial to the protection industry soon started to come about. An indicator that showed the room in which a window or door was opened was introduced. This pinpointed the location of the intrusion inside the residence or business.

A clock was put to work to prevent false alarms. It operated by connecting or disconnecting the alarm system at different times of the day or night.

Ringing Any Room from One Location Becomes Possible

Another device to become available was the electric annunciator. This mechanism was invented in 1871 and first used to ring any room in a house from a single location.

Idea of Central Office Takes Shape and is Put to Use

Central office monitoring, a system which still is in use today, was first developed, patented and put into practice in 1872 by Holmes. The plan began with the idea for an electrically-lined cabinet to encase a jeweler’s safe. This time, instead of connecting the wire to a bell outside of the building, the wire was run into a central office.

The value of the central office was very quickly recognized and taken advantage of. Soon after the cabinet for a jeweler’s safe was created, an electrically-lined cabinet for a bank vault was constructed and put into action. Bankers swiftly became clients and embraced this new protective notion.

5,500 Electric Lamps Make Candle Lamps Obsolete Thomas Edison invented electrical lighting at Menlo Park, Ill. in December 1879 and his first lighting plant and station in New York was opened on Sept. 4, 1882. The plant contained 5,500 connected lamps when it began and 14 months later it had 12,732.

Devices Need to Make Connections Although the security industry is very different and much more advanced than it was in the 1800s and early 1900s, one thing remains the same: the importance of communication.

Nowadays we have devices that can do many things that Edwin Holmes probably only dreamed about. Cameras are able to give us pictures of monitored locations. Passive Infrared detectors have the ability to set off alarms with beams of infrared light. Cards and card readers give us authority to either enter or exit certain places. There are even devices available that scan the iris of an eye to grant or deny access. In any case, there must be a certain amount of interaction for any alarm system to function properly, so keep those lines of communication open.

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