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“Ambassador”, West Wycombe: stray Secom plug

“Ambassador” burglar alarm, West Wycombe • See how the shapes are moving on? Yesterday’s was a slightly squared-off triangle, and now we’re motoring towards full-on faceted sounders by way of a few “UK plug” shapes. This particular example fails on three counts: it’s a dull shape, a faded logo, and it’s shot at a bad angle. But I include it because this weird flat delta is normally only used by the Japanese security giant Secom. I have come across many older variations of Ambassador sounders (such as this), but only one like the example above. I’m assuming Secom took over Ambassador, rather than vice versa – unless Ambassador somehow acquired and rebranded a load of Secom’s very recognisable covers. • Spotted: Village centre, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Wycombe

23 replies »

  1. You can tell this bell box is a dummy because if this were a live bell box than you’d be able to see the CQR multi box strobe at the bottom.
    For awhile i thought Secom were the only company that used the unique CQR multi box shape but now it seems to me like thats not the case.

  2. Thank you gentlemen, this is so fascinating. So it seems Ambassador DID originate this shape. There will be some Secom / Carroll boxes soon.

  3. Andy – yes, that’s right, PA Alarms Ltd in Maidstone – they were based in Bedford Place, from memory. White C Type, Red “logo”. I was scratching my head trying to think of them earlier – remembered Dominion well enough (who were East Grinstead for a while, and Maidstone prior to that – down by the old Cinema).

    You may well be correct regarding who used the Delta first – I’m sure it’s a Gardiner Technology (now Risco) – as distinct from Gardiner Security – design, now I think about it. The idea of the strobe was that it was supposed to “bounce” off the wall I think.

    That took me back – anti-drilling protection, and anti-foam devices too. There was a surge in that kind of device once it was discovered that all you really needed to defeat most bell boxes was a cheap tin of tyre weld. Ah, the days of replacing bell boxes after they’d been hit by that stuff, or set fire to, or both.

    You had to wonder, a lot of the time, how nobody noticed someone wondering around with a ladder in one hand and a tin of tyre weld in the other……


    • The Delta box was first made by a guy in Somerset from the farming industry and got into financial trouble, Gardiner Technology brought his bell box manufacturing equipment and made some modifications.

      • Hi.

        The Delta box shape you refer to has been used by our for many years. The first firm that made it, in metal, was a company called Baily Associate. Then another guy started up, who was the guy from Sommerset, his name was Noel and his company was called Nintek Engineering. I think that it was Baily Associates tooliong that Gardiner Technology purchased. From Nintekl, we moved onto Elmdene, which we have used ever since, other than a one year gap where we used Gardiner Technology. I dont think that either firm made the Ambassador bell box.

        • I remeber Bailey Ass but not Nintek.
          When we started Westec Security we used the Tunstall ES1 because it was one of only a few metal boxes on the market, as said in another post polycarbonate is not as strong as 3mm of steel. But after a few years they started to self actuate for many hours because of condensation on the module. After a lot of complaining Tunstall brought out a module with an improved coating, I don’t think this solved the problem.
          Then the metal Delta box came on the market, not only was it metal but the designer of the module had experience in protecting other electronic components in the farming industry from getting wet, so it seemed our prayers had been answered. I suppose they were until the plastic Delta shape box with a metal box inside came along, then we really did get what we had wanted for decades, sounder protected inside a metal box with plastic cover that wouldn’t rust.

          • I remember Westec using the ES1 – you had a strobe in the top left corner. We had problems with the Baileys bells. In particular, we had the triangle pointing up so you couldnt see the strobe.

            • Yes around 1986 the industry started using strobes so we drilled and fitted an orange strobe to match the orange flash in our logo. They were initially fitted in the centre over the label, then we had a smaller label printed that was fitted off centre and as you say the strobe fitted on one side. Drilling the ES1 was bad practice as this helped with the rust, this is why we were desperate for a new metal bell box to be produced.

        • I had the surest feeling the Ambassador box (as pictured) was a GT model – mainly because they were among the first to do “internal” strobes. It definitely doesn’t look like CQR, Visonic, or Texecom tooling – though at a push it could be CQR I guess. They were one of the first to produce “odd” shapes – well, the arch anyway.

          It runs in my mind too that GT purchased the tooling from Baily for the design, then rushed to get it out in polycarb. I’m sure the “wet protection” came from there – I remember Gardiner Tech lauding it long and loud as being the best in the industry as encapsulation goes.


          • As well as my own systems, I used to install for a guy who trustingly used GT as a ‘one stop shop’ from 97 to 2002 – as a result I knew the catalogue like the back of my hand even though we used Novaguard 4’s for the externals – I don’t remember this one too well from the catalogue of that era… But I’m not doubting anyone but myself! And maybe it was gone from general sale by then?

    • Form was put into bell boxes by means of a blow torch strapped to a brush handle (or 2) to melt hole a in the box. Then a length of batten with a length of beer pipe clipped to it with a few inchs hanging over the end so it could be inserted into the box and the form squirted up the beer pipe into box. So all done from ground level.

  4. Ambassador were a fairly well respected 80s/early 90s business – who went on an acquisition trail for a little while, taking in other moderate companies such as Dominion, and many smaller ones too.

    Secom came onto the scene in around 1990 – having gained a foothold in the UK with the purchase of Carroll Security Group in 1989. They brought a number of distinctly Japanese ways with them too, and were even referred to as “The Japs” at the time. They did, in turn take over the likes of Ambassador, and other smaller businesses, growing their share a little at a time.

    I’m fairly sure Ambassador was traded in it’s own name for a time. Secom, I’m sure, have used that design since around 1995 or so.


    • Excellent history. Ambassador was actually formed by the change of name from a small Kent Firm called PA Alarms. It was Ambassador who started using the shape in the picture. At that time the sounder case had a printed circuit board on the outside of the sounder casing, beneath the plastic cover to detect the cover bring drilled. In addition, the sounder case incorporated a strobe, which could not easily be seen when activating. This has now been changed in the last year or so by Secom having the strobe at the bottom.

      • I’d often wondered which came first – seeing as the box is/was obviously a custom job but doesnt /really/ suit either company logo wise… But at a push ‘Ambassador’ looks a bit more comfortable on the size of box. Surprised they didn’t go for a shield shape, considering!

      • Andy – yes, Dominion used H Types for most of their contracts, but after winning the Kwik Save contract, moved to the Aritech unit, which was a formidable unit from a technical point of view, but lousy from a design angle – there was little room on them for identity – from memory, only a little rectangle in the bottom right of them, as the remainder was effectively “grille” covered.

        The Aritech was considered a high security unit, as it had a metal back plate, metal innards, and a poly carb cover – it was also fully encapsulated internally – from revision two, had anti-drill, anti foam, and produced around 125dB of noise as well as having an integral strobe flush with the lid. I seem to recall the model number as being SS370 or similar. I’m fairly sure ROMEC used them too for a while.


        • Are the Aritech’s your refering to have a strobe bit on the top of the box and oftern its a white coloured strobe, i have seen them in red or blue though. then above the grill there is a big hole for a screw, and under that bit it the horizontal grill? limited area for company to add logo. If so did they have a tone adjust?

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