Marie Van Brittan Brown is responsible for keeping the homes of millions of people safe. Brown invented the home security system in 1966 when she placed three peepholes in her front door for specific height levels and set up the camera that could move from one peephole to the other. The camera picked up images of activity going on outside and Brown was able to speak to people beyond her door.
This invention is still being used in American households today. Home security is an extremely important and growing industry. According to SLH security systems, a well-known home security company, “An approximately 21 million U.S homes have professionally monitored security.” Home security has grown exponentially from the time that Brown invented it in the 1960s.
Brown was inspired to design this system because she was concerned about the safety of herself and her family. Being a nurse who worked outside the typical 9-5 hours and residing in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., Brown couldn’t depend on local authorities to arrive in a timely manner in an emergency. Often alone while her husband was working, she was inspired to create something that would reassure her of her safety. Her husband, Albert Brown did assist in the drafting of the invention, but it was her original idea and creation. African American women don’t always get the recognition they deserve for ideas they formed or inventions they created. Brown, however, got her recognition and an award from the National Scientists Committee. She was also asked to participate in an interview for The New York Times and has been credited several times as being the inventor of home security.
I have found home security to be extremely convenient. Being a woman raised by a single mother showed me that security and protection is a valuable thing. Even if someone never tries to break-in or cause trouble, it’s still relieving to know that we have protection just in case. Thanks to Brown’s invention, my family and thousands of others can experience that sense of security. Brown, unfortunately, passed away in 1999, but before her passing, she was able to witness the impact her invention had on American households over the course of 30 years.