February 25, 2023 – Marie Van Brittan Brown, An Example in Black Excellence

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown made a great contribution to a safer society with her invention of the first home security system. Her invention was the first closed-circuit television security system and paved the way for modern home and business security systems used today.  Ms. Van Brittan Brown and her husband, Albert Brown, invented a security system consisting of four peepholes, a sliding camera, television monitors, and two-way microphones which they patented.

Their invention was the first closed-circuit television security system and is the predecessor to modern home systems today. It was the foundation for video monitoring, remote-controlled door locks, push-button alarm triggers, instant messaging to security providers and police, as well as two-way voice communication. These systems have become the leading security for homes and small businesses all over the world. The fame of Brown’s device also led to the more prevalent CCTV surveillance in public areas.

Sade Baderinwa says that “if you have a ‘home security system’ protecting your home, you have [Marie Van Brittan Brown] to thank.” Brands such as ADT, Ring, Nest, and more all have her to thank for her initial idea. The home security business is a global $51 billion industry.

Brown’s initial idea keeps people safe around the world. She was recognized in The New York Times and received an award from the National Scientists Committee for her work.

Unfortunately, Marie van Brittan Brown died before she could see the new innovations added to her invention. But her impact will never be forgotten. Any security system, whether it be at homes, businesses, or banks, can all be traced back to her invention. As more home security systems came to the market, Brown’s initial invention became even more influential. Her invention was cited in at least 32 future patent applications. Unfortunately, after her successful patent application in 1969, the media coverage of her product ceased. 

150 150 Ethel Mitchell

Leave a Reply