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Marie Van Brittan Brown: Founder of CCTV Home Security

Did you know that it was a woman who founded the CCTV home security systems that paved the way for the industry as we know it today?

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Marie Van Brittan Brown is credited with inventing CCTV home security alongside her husband in 1966, with their patent (#3,482,037) being granted in 1969.

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The idea for a home security system came about because of the couple’s mismatched work schedules. Being a nurse, Marie worked very erratic hours, whereas her husband Albert worked a standard 9-5 as an electronics technician. Due to her schedule, Marie oftentimes found herself home alone at odd hours of the day and nights and, due to their neighbourhood’s climbing crime rate, frightened for her safety.

One of her main causes of concern was having to go to their front door to identify those who knocked on it.

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To help her feel more secure, the couple built a security system that was a fixed set of four peep-holes with a camera that would slide up and down (so she could identify people of varying heights) to look through and project anything it picked up onto a monitor.

Ahead of its time, the system also gave users the option to remotely unlatch its door. Marie Van Brittan Brown’s CCTV home security system was so effective and innovative that she received an award from the National Science Committee and recognition in The New York Times.

Since her invention, the home security market has grown on track to be worth well over $47.5 billion within the next few years, and (according to America Comes Alive) the Browns’ patent has been “referenced by 13 subsequent inventors who trace their own creation back to having made use of some aspect of the Browns’ closed-circuit system. The most recent patent that referenced the Browns’ invention was in 2013.”

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