If we look back at the history of burglar alarms we can see that they have come a long way. Once humans had moved on from simply using animals to ward off strangers the search was on for a more sophisticated solution to home security.
By looking at some early gadgets of this sort and comparing them to more modern alternatives it is clear that technology has moved on enormously in recent times.
Wires and Bells
Among the first gadgets used to ward off burglars was the simple set up of wires with bells attached to them. They were effective in some way, as anyone who stumbled into one unexpectedly could easily be scared off. However, they have some very obvious limitations and look hopelessly old fashioned these days. The modern equivalent of a smart wireless burglar alarm is miles away from this. For a start, the crook can’t even see what they are trying to avoid, as they won’t know whether the alarm uses laser beams, microwaves, ultrasonic detection or some other method of detecting their presence. With a big name alarm firm like ADT you can even get an iPhone or Android app and monitor your alarm from far away, something which clearly wasn’t an option with the wires and bells system.
Image source: www.adt.co.uk
The Alarm Wedge
This next one is quite interesting because it is similar to some modern alarm gadgets. Back in 1870 a clockwork door wedge alarm was introduced. The idea never quite took off for some reason but it sounds good in theory.
A little lever was propped up on the wedge and if the door was forced open the lever would drop down and set off a loud alarm. These days only antiques collectors will buy one of these but you can find electronic alarm wedges on the internet.
They work in a very similar way to their 19th century predecessors and offer a useful additional measure of security to a property or to a hotel room, although you wouldn’t want to depend upon them as your only means of protection.
Image Source: craftscouncil.org.uk
The Scary Gadget
The late 19th century seems to have been a very productive time for burglar alarm inventors. Just about a decade after the alarm wedge failed to take the world by storm the wonderfully names Pratt’s Alarm and Animal Trap Percussion Gun was introduced to the world. This double barrelled beast of a machine made a scary noise like a real gun being fired when its trip wire was set off. These days many security gadgets offer a similar type of noisy burglar deterrent, from the sound of a fierce dog barking to a piercing alarm to a shrieking siren going off while a thick bank of fog envelopes the crook. Scaring thieves away with alarm gadgets is something which is unlikely to ever go out of fashion.
Image source: http://www.aaawt.com