Before burglar alarms, what did people do to protect their homes from danger? In today’s digital world the sound of an alarm system comforts many private homes and businesses around the world, but who invented it? Thousands of years ago, people wanted to keep their homes and loved ones safe. The idea of protection dates back to the thousands of years ago, an actual alarm system was only developed 164 years ago.

The History of the Burglar Alarm

In ancient times, people would use many different measures in order to keep their home and their family safe from harm. Some of those measures include:

  • Building walls or gates around the property
  • Building their home against a lake or cliff
  • Using dogs or geese to alert them of outsiders

These efforts weren’t very effective. A clergyman, Reverend Augustus Russell Pope, began struggling with the idea of a burglar alarm system and finally he was able to patent his idea in 1853. The device he created was based on the telegraph. The telegraph utilized batteries, sending a message to magnets across cities causing a clicking sound. Instead, the alarm Pope created used batteries to send a message to doors and windows causing a bell to ring.

A Successful New York Venture

In 1858, Pope sold his patent to Edwin Holmes. The businessman installed the alarm in his home and tried to sell it to Bostonians, but at that time, crime was at an all-time low. So, Holmes took his alarm system to New York. According to his son, Edwin T. Holmes, “It immediately occurred to Mr. Holmes that New York ought to be a better field for protection against burglars … Mr. Holmes quickly made up his mind that all the burglars there were in the country were in New York, and so decided to bring his family here, which he did in 1859, locating in Brooklyn, where most new England people settled, possibly feeling safer to be near Henry Ward Beecher’s church.”

The New Yorkers welcomed Holmes’ product as the need demanded. There were robberies, murders, and rapes throughout the city of Brooklyn and Holmes’ alarms were able to prevent such crimes successfully. He created flyers in order to sell his technology, which captured an exceptional amount of attention. By 1866, Holmes had sold more than 1200 alarms.

Central Station Monitoring

In 1877, the first network of alarms was established and monitored by a central location known as central station monitoring. It was a location where guards could be onsite to monitor alarms 24 hours a day. To make it more effective, Holmes added lights and clocks in order to program the devices. Edwin T. Holmes was able to set up a system that involved the existing telephone lines. The family took their business back to Boston and set up a similar system there.

In 1878, Holmes became the president of the Bell Phone Company. Although he sold it only two years later for $100,000, he continued to hold the rights to the telephone lines and the alarm system.

The market began to change a few years later with the establishment of streetlights. Electrical alarm systems were being developed. In 1901, another company bought the Holmes’ business and began to improve the system including connecting the phone and alarm lines to emergency call centers.

For a modern approach to your home security, contact the professionals at Protect America today.