Marie Van Brittan Brown: Inventor of the First Home Security System

Marie Van Brittan Brown is credited with the invention of both the first-ever home security system and the first closed-circuit television. The patent for her security system influenced the modern home security system that we still use today.


Photo courtesy of The Black Wall Street Times

Brown was born in 1922 and worked as a nurse in Queens, New York, where she lived with her husband. They both worked odd hours and crime rates in their neighborhood were high, while the police response time was slow. Brown decided to take this issue into her own hands and created her own security system for her home.


The system was made up of three peepholes on the front door (each for a different height), a sliding camera hooked up to a monitor system, and a two-way microphone used for speaking to the person outside. Brown could unlock the door using a remote control if the person was safe, or call the police with the press of a button if they were not. Brown and her husband were approved for the patent in 1969, earning her an interview with the New York Times and an award from the National Scientists Committee.


We still use many of the concepts that Brown came up with today, such as CCTV, the idea of having a camera at your door, and the ability to lock and unlock your door remotely. Through this invention, she was able to create a safer society, even 60 years later.