Skip to main content
BlogIndustry News

The History of Home Security

By January 19, 2016 June 25th, 2019 No Comments

Home security has evolved to say the least. During the earliest days of mankind, people armed themselves with the weapons of the day to fend off unwanted intruders like wild animals and wandering humans. Fires burned at night to reveal unwanted visitors.

Even the Great Pyramids of Egypt which contained vast riches were intricately designed with heavy stone with virtually no access to be impenetrable with the tools of the day.

The Chinese surrounded the great dynastic tombs with carvings of legions of soldiers presumably to scare off potential looters. The Chinese also built the greatest wall of all that meanders across mountaintops for miles to discourage barbarians from attacking from the West.  The Great Wall was heavily manned to turn back raiders as they struggled to climb even to the base of the wall.

To appreciate how home security advanced into what it is today, you have to take a look back at the past.

Walled Cities

On a community-wide scale, early European and Chinese cities were built on top of hills to make the approach by dangerous raiders more difficult. Remnants of walled cities remain throughout the world as witness to the human fixation with security.

Walled cities and castle structures included moats and drawbridges that also prevented unwanted access. Besides arrows, spears and eventually guns, the walls were an excellent place from which to pour hot oil and metal materials upon attackers. Tower castles in England and Ireland were constructed with narrow winding stairways to more easily repel attacks.

Early Locks

While moats and drawbridges protected the community as a whole, how did the citizens protect themselves from their neighbors? Thus the history of home security begins.

The Romans are credited with developing intricate door locks and keys to make entry difficult.

Lo-Tech Warning Systems

One of the cruder home security systems was developed in Japan. Building floors unevenly so they would creak would discourage even the stealthiest of thieves.

“Junkyard dogs” have been an element of the history of home security for centuries. Some are effective, many are loud, but some have been known to be diverted with bacon.

In early 1800’s America, night watchmen patrolled the streets and would shake the doors to ensure security. Though it seems as if the rattling one’s doors at a late hour would be unnerving, apparently this was successful. Even today many areas still organize Neighborhood Watch programs whereby members simply watch for unusual activity.

Technological Advances Through Electricity

In the late-1800’s, electricity and magnetism altered the history of home security. Along with other ingenious devices, the first security alarm system was developed.

Wires were connected in a way when a door opened, the circuit was broken and the alarm would sound. This principle became more sophisticated over time and elements such as timers and code input capability were added. Windows and other points of potential entry were similarly “wired”.

Video Surveillance and Motion Detectors

The first system for video surveillance was developed in the 1940’s and achieved widespread use in the 1970’s. The system consisted of video cameras placed at designed intervals to view the exterior areas of the property.

An interior control unit with monitors allowed for individuals to observe outside activity that may be developing.


Today video surveillance can be an array of miniature cameras positioned throughout the home.

High-resolution images are monitored remotely with a smart phone, tablet or PC. Motion detectors are so reliable that they accommodate pets that roam the home while you are away. Detection of unusual motion relays a signal to the owner and security company to call for emergency assistance to the home.

Home security has certainly developed over the centuries and new technology is emerging every day. Homeowners can trade in the ancient door shakers and moats for new sophisticated systems.

Get Your No Obligation Security Review

Get Started