Necessity Made Her a Mother of Invention

While going about life, do you ever stop and wonder how it is that things we take for granted came to be? Things like the dishwasher, vacuums, stop lights, or other daily use items had to come from someone's imagination and innovation. The home security system is one of those things that you have to wonder: who came up with it and why? This month at GIRLS CAN! CRATE we're answering those very questions. Who? Marie Van Brittan Brown. Why? She wanted to feel safe. 

MVBB 1.jpg

Marie Van Brittan Brown is a name not known to many. Her contributions to electrical engineering and the world at large haven't been heralded throughout history books. No, she's one of those women that we at GIRLS CAN! CRATE love to celebrate: women who've done big things, but who remain fairly anonymous.  Not much is known about Marie and even the photographs of her floating around on the internet can't even been substantiated as her. But what we do know is that she invented a home security system for an industry that's now worth an estimated $47 billion of the total security market!!

Marie was living in Queens, New York in the 1960s with her husband. She was a nurse and he was an electrical technician. They both worked odd hours and she would often be home alone at night. Crime was on the rise in Queens at this time and emergency response time was very slow. Marie simply wanted to feel safe in her own home. She began to wonder about how she could create a system that would allow her to know who was at her door before unlocking it from a remote location. She began to learn everything she could from her husband and books about electricity and electrical engineering. The result? She created the first closed circuit television and home security system. Marie could remain in the comfort of her bedroom, see who was at the door through a sliding camera that looked through four peepholes on her television monitor, talk to whomever was at the door through a two-way microphone, and then either unlock the door at the push of a button or, with another button, call for help. How amazing is that?!

Marie and her husband filed a patent for her home security system in 1966. Since then, her patent has referenced by 13 other inventors. All that's evolved in the home security system world started because Marie Van Brittan Brown wanted to feel safe in her home. And that's what makes her so incredible. She could have simply had that desire without ever pursuing a solution to her problem or she could have looked at all the knowledge required in electrical engineering and felt too overwhelmed to do anything about it, but she didn't. Instead, she looked at her problem from all angles, sought to learn what she could, found help where she needed it, and in turn, affected the lives of millions of people.

So, if your home is one of the 66% of American homes that has a home security system, perhaps the next time you set it think about Marie Van Brittan Brown and talk to your littles about a woman who saw a problem and strove to find a solution.

This month, join us as we celebrate the life and work of The Inventive Electrical Engineer, Marie Van Brittan Brown! We're diving into electricity, circuits, and more in this electric crate. You don't want to miss it! But hurry, because supplies are limited and the order window closes on December 15th. Join us today at