Home Security

Marie Brown was the single child of African American parents. She was a nurse and her husband was an electrician living in a high-crime neighborhood in Queens, NY. Their work schedule varied, and Marie was often at home alone. Naturally, she was concerned for her safety, especially since police were reluctant to respond to calls in her neighborhood.

Marie decided that she needed some way to identify the persons who knocked at her door. Her first idea was simply a series of peepholes. Over time, she and her husband added video and audio capabilities to their security system. They also devised a way to enable the video to be seen on any TV.

They were awarded a patent for their security system, the first of its kind. This resulted in the launch of a new industry. At first, developers were slow to embrace the system. Over time, the security system became successful as homeowners insisted that it be installed in their homes. Marie and her husband continued to add features to their home security system. These features, such as closed-circuit TV, became a vital necessity for businesses as well.

What the Browns did was pioneer the development of a series of security systems that have widespread use today. The market for security systems now exceeds one billion dollars a year. But the biggest impact of their work is to provide an extra layer of security in homes, businesses, and public places.

Hidden heroes often pioneer the development of innovations that become so commonplace that we don’t even think of their origins. How many people would ever think of how home security came about? Could they imagine that the systems that are so prevalent today were created by a nurse and her electrician husband, and not the product of a company or federally funded research lab? Hidden heroes often see a personal need and create solutions that everyone might use.

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“People want security in this insecure world.”  – David Bailey (Photographer)

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