The history of alarm systems is shrouded in the mists of time. It is said that the Egyptians (and probably many before and after) used Geese to warn of intruders, also the use of trip wire was another form of early alarm. With the advent of electricity combining with mechanical detection devices, products were devised that were the forerunner of today’s commercially available alarm systems.

In the USA in1857 a Mr Pope had invented a device, which detected a door or window opening and when activated a bell would ring. The idea was taken up by Edwin Holmes of Boston who bought the patent and together with Charles Williams, who manufactured the bells and other equipment, founded an alarm business. In 1859 Holmes believed that wealthy New York was a better business prospect and decided to move and Holmes Protection therefore was one of, if not the first, business set up to for the purpose of supplying and monitoring burglar alarm systems. In England in 1892 Chubb introduced an "Electric Burglar Alarm" fitted to a safe, but it did not have any success.

From 1910 an alarm system was successfully designed in London under the name of Carpenter Alarms. Ten years later this was taken over by Bristow Bros. It was then later taken over by an Ironmonger called Gunn & Co. The increasing demands dictated the alarm business breaking away resulting, in the late 1920's, of the Rely-a-Bell Burglar and Fire Alarm Company.




References: A Wonderful Fifty Years by Edwin Holmes (privately published), Chubb Collectana. Paper written by P Frost (Company Secretary Chubb Alarms Ltd (C.1985), Fifty Years Remembered by D. Robertson. A History of the UK Alarm Industry by M Cahalane, Reminiscences of A Bishop, S Groom, R Prevost, A.S.McAinch and others to numerous to mention. Our thanks to everyone for their contribution.