The History of Home Security

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The technological complexities that are now at our disposal to keep you and your family safe from the dangers of the outside world have never been more advanced. Modern home security technology is an easy thing to take for granted, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past when this technology was pure science fiction.

At NCA Alarms, we spend a lot of time evangelizing the benefits of the latest in home security technology, but today, we’re going to take a moment to look backwards instead of forwards. Have you ever wondered about the home security industry’s origins? Well hold onto your hats, because today, we’re going to take a journey through time.

The Earliest Origins Of Home Security

The earliest record we have of home security in action was in ancient Egypt. Records show that, as early as 3150 B.C., people were digging large trenches around their homes, towns, and cities, to keep out intruders. These trenches were eventually filled with water, and hence, the moat was born. Moats became a popular security measure throughout Europe as the world moved into the Middle Ages, and some particularly security-conscious townspeople even put crocodiles into their moats. However, as the world slowly began to modernize, this became less and less practical.

In 1700s, as the world’s population continued its pattern of slow but steady growth, moats became increasingly less practical, and a new tactic was born: guard dogs. While guard dogs proved to be a great security system, the upper class would often use human body guards and security personnel. The combination of humans and dogs is something that we still employ to this very day, but on the eve of the industrial revolution, things were about to change.

The Evolution Of Home Security

The industrial revolution brought with it a great many inventions and ideas with direct application to the home security field, but there was one invention that stood out above the rest. The first big step toward modern home security systems happened in the mid 1800s, and consisted of electromagnetic sensors. These sensors were placed in vulnerable spots, such as doors and windows, and would set off a loud alarm if an intruder entered into the electromagnetic field.

Of course, in its day, this was the pinnacle of home security technology, which kept it out of reach for most people. Only the wealthy could afford such cutting edge home security. And, by coincidence, it was pretty much only the wealthy whose homes had valuables that were worth the trouble of stealing. However, as human history progressed, technology of this level was made accessible to the masses, and new needs arose that had to be addressed.

The Dawn Of Modern Home Security

It was in the wake of World War I that Americans first became seriously concerned with home security. A crime wave was washing over the nation, and families began looking for ways to keep their loved ones safe. During this time, there were all manner of hokey services offered that would supposedly deter danger, such as paid “door shakers” who would jiggle your doorknob every night, just to make sure it was locked. Needless to say, this is no longer a service that is offered. What really changed the game was insurance discounts being offered to households that installed an alarm. This was just the push that the American public needed to make home security systems commonplace.

Of course, by the time World War I ended, technology had advanced a great deal, but this was nothing compared to advancements that would come to the home security world in the next 50 years. Video surveillance was first being developed in the 1940s, and became common place in the American marketplace by the 1970s. These early cameras were large, inconvenient, and sent grainy analog video to a control panel that security-conscious homeowners needed to learn how to operate.

Today, home security cameras can be as small as a single square inch, which is all the more impressive when you consider their incredible capabilities. These tiny cameras have powerful lenses that can stream HD video through an internet connection that will make live footage of your home easily viewable from anywhere on the planet. Of course, you may not be interested in watching a never-ending video of your empty bedroom whilst on vacation, but new smart home technology now has the power to send you a video clip, only when motion is detected in your home.

The future is now! And if you’d like to learn about how you can have your home outfitted with the latest and greatest in security technology, all you have to do is give us a call! We’d be happy to talk you through your home security options.


James Stein