Meet Marie Van Brittan Brown; The African-American Who Designed The Home Security System

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marie van brittan brown

The Biography Of Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van was born into slavery on October 30, 1922, in Queens, New York. She lived her early years as a slave until she was eventually freed when she was about 7 years old. Information about her high school education and college have remained in obscurity. Because of her origin as a slave, Marie put in every effort to do something with her life and later on in life, she became a nurse. While Marie worked as a nurse, she met a young man and fell in love with him. Eventually, Marie got married to Albert Brown, who worked as an electronics technician. Because of their professions, their work hours were not the regular hours of 9-5. Together, they had two children and their daughter – Norma – followed directly in the footsteps of her mother. Norma grew up to become a nurse and an inventor.

marie van brittan brown

The Significant Invention That Changed The Face Of Home Security

When asked what inspired her towards such discovery, Marie had it linked to the long time it took for the police to arrive at a location after being called upon. The rate of crime was high in her neighborhood and she didn’t feel safe when she was alone at home. She was never satisfied whenever she had to answer the door to know who was knocking. For this reason, Marie sort means to secure her home. She had to come up with some form of creativity that would let her know whoever came knocking so she could contact the authorities whenever she noticed anything suspicious.

Marie’s home security device served as a foundation for the two-way communication systems and surveillance cameras that exist today. Her set of apparatus included a camera, peepholes, a two-way microphone, and monitors. The last was an alarm button that she could press whenever she needed to contact the necessary authorities.

She placed three peepholes at different points on the front door. The highest positioned peephole was placed strategically to view tall persons. The middle one was for people who had an average height, while the one at the bottom was for children. Just adjacent the door, she placed a camera which she could slide up and down to enable her to see through each peephole. This camera aggregated images that would be shown on the monitor through a wireless system. The monitor could be positioned in any convenient part of the house.

Furthermore, she installed a voice component which allowed her to speak and the person outside could get to hear her. Is she suspected any foul play, all she needed to do was push a button and the necessary authorities would be notified. Another beauty of her invention was that if she recognized an expected or welcome visitor, she was able to unlock the door via remote control.

On the 1st of August, 1966, Marie and her husband – Albert – filed an application for a patent. It was titled “Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance.” On the 2nd of December, 1969, their application was approved. This invention awarded Marie a lot of recognition – which was well deserved – and on the 6th of December, 1969, she got an interview with the New York Times. She also got an award from the National Scientists Committee (the year of the award cannot be ascertained, however).

Brown’s creativity has served as a template for modern security systems that use features like remote-controlled doors and gates, video monitoring and surveillance, button trigger for alarms, two-way voice communication systems and instant messaging to security agencies. Up till today, her invention remains relevant to offices, homes, streets, complexes, supermarkets and many more places. As many as thirteen other inventors have made references to the Brown’s patent and some of these references are as recent as 2013.

Africh Royale

Africh Royale

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