Marie Van Brittan
Marie Van Brittan Brown 1922 - 1999
All owners of home security systems have Marie Van Brittan to thank. Van Brittan, the New York native, was a world-class inventor. In 1969 Brittan and her husband Albert Brown, an electronics technician, secured the patent for the modern home security system.
Police ineptitude is never celebrated. However, as it relates to Van Brittan, we recognize her genius would not have manifested when it did, if not for police neglect and lack of expediency responding to calls for help. It seems inevitable that more advanced security technology would have been developed within the next ten years for either banks, government buildings, or hospitals. But the immediate need facilitated Van Brittan’s creation.
Van Brittan connected a motorized sliding camera to a dedicated monitor (closed circuit TV monitor) that actively received the surveillance feed from the camera’s projections. Van Brittan and Brown received a patent for their combination of video recording with instantaneous projection.
In addition to the sliding camera and monitor projections, Van Brittan added a remote door lock and unlock feature to the system. Despite the level of brilliance and innovation required to create the home security system, she is seldom credited due to the racial tensions of the era.
This technological breakthrough set the standard for all security systems for generations. In fact, many of the concepts developed by Van Brittan remain in use today.