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“Zodiac Security”, Ealing: science and superstition

“Zodiac Security” burglar alarm, Ealing • The stories behind the various star signs are pretty convoluted, but they’re all based on ancient folklore and superstition, so astrology is a fitting follow-up to my previous theme of mythological alarms. Zodiac is a Greek word for the constellations meaning “circle of animals”, an idea drawn from the Babylonians, who first divided the heavens into 12 parts. It was originally an astronomical concept, but the great Romano-Egyptian scholar Ptolomy systemised the personality-based astrological system that remains hugely popular today. However, as we shall see, there are surprisingly few burglar alarms named after star signs – odd, as there are many good strong names: Taurus, Aries, Capricorn, Leo… though maybe not Cancer. I haven’t even come across a security firm called Libra, and not name-checking the divine scales of justice seems a serious omission. So, unless security engineers are such a militantly rational lot that they won’t even contemplate zodiac-based names, they’re missing a trick in the burglar alarm branding stakes – and there’s room to start an astrological trend. • Spotted: Ashbourne Parade, Ealing, London, W5, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Ealing Central and Acton

Above: Look at all the brilliant potential burglar alarm logos on this 16th century woodcut showing the signs of the zodiac. They’re just begging to be used…

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19 replies »

  1. Do you or anyone know anything about about what happened to the now defuncted alarm company’s – Spectre – I think they were based in Hounslow, Express Alarm Systems (EAS), the ‘Ideal’ burglar alarm company, circa Relay-A-Bell and Auto Call or ‘ The Sentinel Burglar Alarm Company’ also circa AFA/Autocall?

    • Spectre were based in Hounslow, around 1980 my company Enright Security made a bid for all of it’s stock and we were the highest bid. They also were a manufacturer so we brought lots of empty control panel boxes and aluminium surface contacts with no reed switch or magnets in them, all the staff took a whole day to move everything to Wimbledon. We took the aluminium to the scrap merchant and spent all night in the pub drinking the proceeds, obviously not many installs got finished the next day.
      Before we sold Enrights we took the empty boxes to Eddy Enrights farm and used them on various jobs for many years when we had Westec Security.
      In the 60s Eddy worked for Spectre and when anyone was due to be sacked the owner (Don Simpson I think) would go off to the pictures. If you watch the tv program The Good Life you will see a Spectre bell box normally the dummy on the back.
      I worked for Express Alarm Systems in Surbiton around 1974 to 1976 when I left to start Enrights with Eddy, it was owned by John Moir who sold to Moderns. He also had a company Express Alarm Supplies who sold equipment to Mather & Platt in Australia which is a bit odd. John Moir then joined up with Mike Godfrey ex manager of Banhams and started a company with a name like Lasco or similar.
      I could bore for hours about the old days but I’ll spare you, one extra piece of useless information, John Moir’s dad designed the Mary Quant logo.

      • Mike, you could never bore me. The information you have about the firms I have always wondered about is remarkable.

        Lasco were based in Twickenham I think and sold out to ADT/Modern. My time lines have gr confused over the years. I often wondered if the name Lasco was meant to emulate the then popular MASCO who did all the pubs and off licences. If I’m not mistaken, Lasco stood for ‘Lock Alarm Security Comany’

      • Blimey. I don’t know who John Moir is but as a graphic designer I am VERY impressed his dad designed the Mary Quant logo – that is not useless information to me. What a classic!

    • Andy I was surprised that you were asking after Express Alarms as it was a small company and didn’t last many years, what is your interest in the company.

      • Hi Mike,

        You must have gathered by now that I am a burglar alarm nurd.

        In my informative years, when my interest in alarms first started I noticed the bell boxes from all these firms, including Express Alarm Systems.

        When I started on my own, I ripped out a Modern Alarm, which once upon along ago way an Express Alarm system, as although they had changed the bell, the system still had the keyswitch operated Express panel. I replaced it with a Scantronic 9100.

          • We are looking back 40 years when Express formed in 1972ish, only traded for about 5 years & fitted possibly a few hundred systems not thousands. The box was a similar shape as Brocks, it was red with white EAS and telephone number underneath. I’ve been looking on Google Maps but can’t find one, will keep looking and update you.
            Before starting EAS John Moir worked for one of the two main alarm equipment suppliers AES in Twickenham the other being Sesco in Hounslow. He thought having similar initials would help business, also his partner lived in Kent and did a deal with a security shop in Orpington called Everalert where EAS fitted their alarms. So the clients in Kent thought they were having a system fitted by a local company Everalert Alarm Systems (EAS) when in fact the actual alarm company was Express Alarm Systems (EAS) a long way away in Surrey.

            • I love all this histiorical stuff. I remember seeing a few EAS boxes, the one that sticks out in my mind was many years ago on a Shell Petrol station in Hatch End Middlesex. As you say, like Brocks, but seem to remember they were very narrow. I wondered at the time how they got a Friedland 6″ bell inside it. No strobe….these were the days well before Bell Stop timers, Strobe lights and the silly little LEDs that mean nothing on todays sounders.

              • Yes they did have a 6″ bell not always a Friedland, I remember a cheaper competitor coming on the market. No strobes till late 70s, bell cut out timers where fitted in the control panel around mid 70s, entry/exit timers about 1975. These dates are when they were standard equipment not specials although I stand corrected if wrong.

            • I’ve think I’ve got a photo of an alarm reading EAS somewhere, I’ll try and find it. This is the trouble with acronyms, they are interchangeable and you never know what they stand for, and they are unmemorable. But they are short so good for bell boxes!

        • Andy
          Where was the system I might have installed it, they use to fit A & G panels. I now don’t think John Moir’s next company was Lasco as he was based in Pound Hill near Crawley, but I’m sure it began with an L.

          • The system is still on maintenance with us. The address is Shaw Close Bushey Heath Watford Hertfordshire WD23 1RB. Have a look. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=WD23+1RB&t=h&om=1. You can see our very old Square Bell Box (before we used Delta Shaperd Sounders), its either an old Goofgle pic or my lazy engineers have never changed it. I installed in in November 1988. I only started in April 1988. Its job number 103. If anyone thinks Im giving the house number and clients name, think again, They have been clients for 24 years. I intend keeping them for another 24 years, dont expect any of you to try and poach :))))))

          • From memory….it sure had the style of an A&G panel, but it looked a bit different, different colour.
            The first panels I ever fitted were Castle CX1001 panels and A&G BS80 Control Units. My favourite panels were Castle ZX1250 keyswitch control units.

  2. Zodiac Security. Originally based in Pinner Middlesex. Owned by Jimmy Jones. Sold out to ADT and several years later started again, and still trades in the West Coutry. A really nice guy!

    • What an amazing fount of knowledge you are. Sounds like a family tree of burglar alarm companies (a la Rock Family Trees) would be very tangled and a nightmare to do.

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