September 30, 2020 | KimElliott | Blog

The History of Home Security


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history of home security

The History of Home Security 

You probably don’t even think about it when you turn the key in your front door to lock it, but people have been securing the places they live for thousands of years. From the Egyptians to the kings and queens of England, every period of time had its own home security systems. We are going to explore some of the ways in which people protected themselves.  


Earliest Home Security 

The earliest example of a lock being uses to secure a home was in Egypt over 6000 years ago. This was the first version of what we know as modern locks. These were made out of wood and were a simple pin tumbler lock. A wooden post was fixed to a door and a horizontal post slid into the post, what made it secure was the bolt had a set of openings which were filled with pins. Rudimentary ‘keys’ were made that had the corresponding pegs to the pins in the lock. When inserted it would move the pins and allow the bolt to be removed. 

However, home security started long before there were any locks and keys. There are records that show that in 3150B.C trenches were dug around homes and villages to keep out intruders. These trenches were then filled with water, this was how the moat was born, and these became increasingly popular in Europe in the Middle Ages. It’s rumoured that those that were particularly worried about home security would even put crocodiles in these moats! 

This method of home security did become less practical as time went by and people didn’t have the space they once did. This meant people had to get creative; this is when guard dogs become a popular method of home security. The wealthiest people took this a step further and employed people as guards, and bodyguards are still used by the rich and famous to this day.  

The Iraqw civilisation in east Africa was one of the first to employ an early warning method of home security. They had been threatened by the Maasai warriors for thousands of years, so started building their homes into the hillsides, this way they could hear the footsteps of the warriors and would know to check for an imminent attack. 

In japan, the houses were designed to have the squeakiest floorboards at the entrance of the house, so that those inside would be alerted if an unwanted visitor came in the night. 



Castles were built to be as defensive as possible; every part of its structure was designed to make sure the castle was as safe as possible, castles often needed to withstand a siege for months. 

The outer curtain wall  this was a huge stone wall which surrounded the entire castle, this was a main element of defence and it had to be incredibly strong as it protected everything within. They were known to be up to 2 metres thick and made of rough rocks and rubble as well as gigantic stones. The designed developed into the ‘concentric castle’, which was essentially a castle in a castle meaning there were two spate layers if curtain walls, one inside the other. This was the most secure design imaginable and was incredibly effective; attackers were hardly ever able to successfully capture a castle that employed this design. 

Turrets, Towers and Look Out Points– the towers on castles had the same principle as the Iraqw civilisation building their homes in the hillside, being high up means you can see the enemy coming from far away. The design of castle were often symmetrical, this gave better sight-lines and the taller the towers the better. 

Machicolations- these are overhanging holes or platforms that are built into castles. This would enable those within the castle to defend it by throwing rocks, arrows and even faeces out of these platforms, on to the attackers below. It’s been said that even red hot oil was poured through these, but this has never been totally proven. 

The Gatehouse– this is simply protected the entrance to the castle. During peace time the entrance of the castle was used to admit, musicians, knights, nobles and the castle owners themselves. However it is a point of weakness when the castle was under attack, this is why the built the gate house. 

Drawbridge- Everyone knows what a drawbridge looks like, the basic principle of a drawbridge is that it is a walkway that can be moved, or broken away from the main structure of the castle. 

As you can see castles were some of the best protected homes in the world, while your home might not be subject to the attacks these castles were, you might think about some of the ways you can protect it. Find out more about home security here.


 The First home security system 

In 1966 Nurse Marie Van Brittan Broan invented the first home security system. Marie lived in New York, which had a high level of crime, and she was frustrated with how long the police would take to arrive at her home in Queens. So, she came up an invention that involved 3 peep holes and a movable camera; which has been the basis of modern close circuit television. It was the first two-way security system that allowed you to see who was on the other side of the door. She also included a voice element to her system, so she could decide if the person was a threat, if they were, the police could be called at the push of a button.  


 The 1970s 

 The most popular choice of home security in the 70s was POTS which literally means Plain Old Telephone Service. This introduced the idea of having a security system that connected to a monitoring centre. The centre would receive the signal, and call the premises to make sure there was no problem, if they were not reassured everything was ok, the police would be sent. POTS has been slowly phased out by more modern technology, but you can still find it in some small homes and businesses 


Modern day 

With the invention and wide use of wireless devices and digital technology, security systems have become very advanced. Nowadays you can lock and unlock your front door with your phone from 100 miles away. You can also see and speak to anyone that comes to your door with your doorbell. Homeowners have so much to choose from when it comes to security, however all modern home security technology has its roots in the old-fashioned devices used by people in the past. Find out more about smart locks here 

Medieval Castle Defence: Defending a Castle