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MARIE VAN BRITTAN BROWN


"A woman alone could set off an alarm immediately by pressing a button, or if the system were installed in a doctor's office, it might prevent holdups by drug addicts."

― Marie Van Brittan Brown


About Marie Van Brittan Brown


Marie Van Brittan Brown was an African-American inventor. She was the inventor of the home security system in 1966, along with her husband Albert Brown. In the same year they jointly applied for a patent, which was granted in 1969.


Brown worked as a nurse and her husband was an electrician, so they did not always have normal hours or simultaneously work. Inspired by how long it would take the police to arrive in her neighborhood, Brown invented the first form of a home security system. Her work hours were not the standard 9-5, and the crime rate in their Queens, New York City neighborhood was very high. Wondering who was on the otherside of her door was always something Brown regretted doing. Brown's system had a set of three peep-holes. At the opposite side of the door a camera was attached with the ability to slide up and down to allow the person to see through each peephole. Also, a resident could unlatch the door by remote control. The system included a device that enabled a homeowner to use a television set to view the person at the door and hear the caller's voice. The home security system that she and her husband invented allowed the monitor to be in a different room, and all of this was possible via a radio controlled wireless system. If the person viewing the images on the monitor did not feel safe they could press a button that would send an alarm to police or security. She and her husband cited other inventors in their patent, such as Edward D. Phiney and Thomas J. Reardon. Even now, over fifty years later, her invention is being used by smaller businesses and living facilities.