|Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922-1999)|
I can relate to Marie's insecurity and concern for safety. I grew up in a large city that had its share of good and bad neighborhoods. As a teen, my parents gave me strict orders to steer clear of the south end of town, where crime was recently a problem. (We were also dealing with race riots). Nevertheless, my supposedly safe neighborhood in the north end of town had its share of robberies. My home was broken into twice to my knowledge. We never had a home security system, and from Marie's experience, I now realize they weren't available, at least to the average citizen. Dad's form of home security was a loaded handgun and our cocker spaniel, Tippy. Thankfully, Dad never had to use the gun.
Does anyone else recall break-ins and concerns about home security? Perhaps it's a concern now.
So....with a neighborhood growing in crime and too few police to monitor the activity, Marie took matters into hand. In 1966, she designed a closed-circuit television security system to monitor their home. Marie is said to have provided the most information and is considered to be the inventor. Her electronics technician husband (Albert) no doubt helped and has equal credit on the patent (according to patent rules, all persons named are equal).
Below is a detailed illustration and summary of the set-up: A lot of thought when into this invention!
|The patent approved in 1969|
---a radio-controlled wireless system that fed images to the monitor
---a motorized camera that slid up and down and captured images through four peep holes (it could monitor different heights)
---a two-way microphone for conversation from behind the door
---a built in alarm that allowed alerting a neighbor
---a remote control means of unlocking the door
The 1966 invention was truly the first of its kind and a forerunner of ones used today. The only difference today is in size, which has shrunk considerably. Marie was honored with an award from the National Scientists Committee for her achievement. As for profits, it's not clear whether the Browns made any at all.
Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl