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Red alarms: more ancient than modern

Burglar alarm colours: red • The most numerous of single-coloured  boxes – more ancient than modern – red alarms sport a lively array of vernacular graphics, usually detailed in white, because not much else shows up on them. It makes them look like fire alarms, and matches those traditional British icons the pillar box and the telephone box (government ministers have red boxes too – what is it with the UK and red boxes?). However, all three types of box are rapidly disappearing: the post and telephone varieties into oblivion, while red alarms tend to be replaced by less strident hues such as white, silver and dark blue – in much the same way as car colours change fashion. I prefer a strident bell, myself. • Below: a selection of vintage red and white alarms

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