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  • Nana Oguntola

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

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-hole. 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.

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.

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.

Although the system was originally intended for domestic uses, many businesses began to adopt her system due to its effectiveness. The system also used a voice component to enable Brown to speak to the person at the door. If the person had criminal intent and tried to enter the house forcefully, the police would be notified with the push of a button. For any expected visitor or welcomed person, the door would be unlocked via remote control. For this invention of a system, she received an award from the National Science Committee.

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