Marie Van Brittan Brown (October 30, 1922 – February 2, 1999) was a nurse and innovator. In 1966, she invented a video home security system along with her husband Albert Brown, an electronics technician. In the same year, they applied for a patent for their innovative security system, which was granted in 1969. Her innovation has had a huge impact on the entire security system. Her idea has expanded beyond just security for those at home, and her ideas can be seen with security systems in businesses around the world. Brown was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York; she died there at the age of 76 in 1999.
Due to the fact that Marie was a nurse and her husband Albert was an electrician, they both had irregular work hours, and often their work hours would not overlap. This would lead to many nights where Marie was left alone in her home at night. The crime rate in her neighborhood was very high, and inspired by the prolonged length of time it took the police to arrive in her neighborhood, Brown invented the first home security system. At the time, Brown was forty years old.
When Marie and her husband first came up with their security system, their invention consisted of four peepholes, a sliding camera, TV monitors, and microphones. The cameras could go from peephole to peephole. These cameras were connected to the TV monitors inside her home, and using those TV monitors, Marie could see exactly who was at her door, without having to physically be at the door and without having to actually open the door. The microphones also played a vital part in her invention, as with them she could talk with whoever was outside, again without actually having to open the door and be face to face with whoever was there. As was said earlier, Marie lived in an area with high crime, and this invention she created would allow her to feel much more safe inside her home. She no longer has to open up the door to see who is there, but rather she can see from the safety of her house who is there.
On August 1, 1966, Marie and her husband submitted a patent application for her invention. It would be the first patent of its kind, and her husband’s name was below hers. The patent was granted by the government on December 2, 1969, and four days later, the New York Times ran an article about her invention.