Black Inventors – Black History Month 2017

Marie Van Brittan Brown – Inventor of CCTV Home Security

Did you know a black woman was the inventor of the CCTV Home Security system? Mrs Brittan Brown’s patent was granted in 1969, to her and her husband.

Marie and her husband were both hardworking citizens. However, their working schedules were often conflicting. Albert – husband of Marie – worked as an electronics technician, 9-5. Marie worked as a nurse, so her hours differed very often. It was this that sparked the first thought of the invention that has today taken over our society.

In the neighbourhood where the married couple lived, there was a rising rate of crime. Marie often found herself at home during odd times of the day and night and it was at this point she decided to invent a home security system. She had concerns about answering the door and identifying the person who was knocking it, so she decided to create a system to suppress these concerns.

The idea for a home security system came about because of the couple’s mismatched work schedules. Being a nurse, Marie worked very erratic hours, whereas her husband Albert worked a standard 9-5 as an electronics technician. Due to her schedule, Marie oftentimes found herself home alone at odd hours of the day and nights and, due to their neighbourhood’s climbing crime rate, frightened for her safety.

One of her main causes of concern was having to go to their front door to identify those who knocked on it. Marie and Albert worked together to build a home security system that could move up and down the door to identify people of different heights and project images onto a monitor.


Surprisingly, the system even gave users the option to unlatch the front door. Marie Van Brittan Brown won a National Science Committee award for her invention and also got recognition from local news and the New York Times. This invention was clearly ahead of its time and is still heavily used in society today.