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Hexagon

OCS, Leeds, 2014

“OCS” burglar alarm, Leeds • I see this chain-like logo quite often, assume it’s a big firm. • Spotted: Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10, England, 2014 • Politics: In […]
OCS, Leeds, 2014

ADT, Hackney, 2006

“ADT” burglar alarm, Hackney • Now for some monograms, ie the easy logo solution of joining initials together in various arty / random ways. Here’s a pretty famous one – […]
ADT, Hackney, 2006

Network, Oxford: sigh

Network Security & Alarms Ltd "Network Security & Alarms Ltd" burglar alarm, Oxford • Sigh. It's got a triangle on it. 'Nuff said. • Spotted: Cornmarket, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
Network, Oxford: sigh

Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Prism "Prism" burglar alarm, Lambeth • A transparent object which refracts light, from ancient Greek prisma, meaning "something sawed". Also featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" LP, which this resembles. • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Ghost under “ASG Vision”, Bristol: anagrams

Ghost under "ASG Vision (on OS Resolution)" burglar alarm, Bristol • Triple acronym whammy: ADG on OSR on something that was a flat-ended oval. Maybe one of these also-Bristolian APS jobbies? In which case the total initials are ADGOSRAPS, whose anagrams include Rap Ass Dog, Spar as God and Drag Soaps. Wow, deep. • Spotted: Broad Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Ghost under “ASG Vision”, Bristol: anagrams

Ghost under “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: last gasp

Ghost under "ADT" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Now onto ghost alarms that have been cruelly obliterated by newer models. I reckon this round-cornered square can only be the last gasp of a tupperware box-shaped Securicor Granley (or one of its spin-offs). At least it got replaced with a sounder that matches. • Spotted: Coventry Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
Ghost under “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: last gasp

Brick ghost alarm, Camden: clean patch

Ghost burglar alarm (brick), Camden • While not as rare as yesterday's pentagon, the sharp-cornered hexagon is still a giveaway shape, most likely to have once been beneath an ADT sounder or, if older, a Modern Alarm (not that I've featured any hexagonal examples of those yet). This box must have been there quite some time to leave such a clean patch, so maybe it was indeed a Modern. • Spotted: Gayton Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
Brick ghost alarm, Camden: clean patch

“Scaffold Security Systems”, Chelsea: comedic

"Scaffold Security Systems" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Clearly meant to be giving off menacing anti-burglar vibes with its bouquet of barbed wire, this logo is somewhat undermined by also recalling 1960s Scouse art-rock trio The Scaffold , famed for their comedy hits "Lily the Pink" and "Thank You Very much for the Aintree Iron", not to mention being helmed by Paul McCartney's younger brother Mike McGear. • Spotted: Beauchamp Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington Scaffold, The
“Scaffold Security Systems”, Chelsea: comedic

“CTAC”, City of Westminster: ancient artefact

"CTAC" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • The arrowhead is an ancient artefact, and an ancient symbol – examples of both have been found dating back to prehistoric times. And examples of both can be found on this burglar alarm, which was discovered above a Covent Garden restaurant, rather than the entrance to a cave. The red shapes look like actual arrowheads, of the type fired from a bow; while the blue ones are more symbolic, in the sense of indicating direction – though diverging arrows can have more sinister readings too, as I shall discuss tomorrow. What CTAC stands for is unknown – the company's website gives no clue, though it's does say it's a niche provider of high end security solutions, and a member of Westminster Group PLC. The attractive logo recalls a compass rose, so maybe one of the Cs stands for compass, and I bet AC is "access control". • Spotted: Bow Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“CTAC”, City of Westminster: ancient artefact

“ASG Vision”, Bristol: flamboyant tail

"ASG Vision" (over "OS Resolution") burglar alarm, Bristol • Aha - I love a sticker, and especially a violent yellow one. Bristol seems to have a particularly thriving burglar alarm ecosystem, and here, ASG Vision have effected a brutal takeover of a hapless OS Resolution box (both firms I have come across this one time only). It's included due to the "vision" reference; what the acronym ASG refers to remains opaque, but I reckon its flamboyant tail is a very abstract eye. • Spotted: Broad Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“ASG Vision”, Bristol: flamboyant tail

“IFSS Infocus Security”, Hounslow: verbal vision

"IFSS Infocus Security" burglar alarm, Hounslow • Now I leave the visual representation of eyes for a few alarms that, counterintuitively, refer to vision verbally – in this case, with that popular catch-all management-speak buzz-word, "focus". In all other ways, it's a supremely boring design – it isn't even an unexplained acronym, despite the extra "S" (for "systems", presumably). I promise there are some better ones to come. • Spotted: Chiswick Mall, Hounslow, London, W4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brentford and Isleworth
“IFSS Infocus Security”, Hounslow: verbal vision

“Raysil”, Southwark: snorey update

"Raysil Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Southwark • Here we have a more recent and less faded version of yesterday's Raysil alarm, sporting the same dodgy design on a lovely new hexagonal box. In other words, a snorey update included for the sake of completeness. • Spotted: Farnham Place, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Raysil”, Southwark: snorey update

“Wakefield Security & Fire”, Shoreham-by-Sea: surreal

"Wakefield Security & Fire" burglar alarm, Shoreham-by-Sea • A while ago I published an old Wakefield alarm with unfair accusations of sleepiness – so here's a more up-to-date example, which is very wakeful indeed. It's also one of only a four sounders I have found decorated with photographic images, the others being two birds and a chain. This looks like something out of a surrealist film, and is almost as unnerving as yesterday's creepy eye sticker. The firm's proprietor, in a comment below, explains that there's also a globe reflected in the eye's iris, though sadly it's not visible in this photo. • Spotted: Town centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
“Wakefield Security & Fire”, Shoreham-by-Sea: surreal

“Locktec Security Group”, Camden: yawning

"Locktec Security Group" burglar alarm, Camden • A while back I posted an ultra-boring Locktec alarm consisting of dull blue lettering, but if this is the same firm they seem to have reincarnated as a fierce, roaring lion. Or perhaps it's yawning – I certainly am, because I'm still on a deadline (and it's got nothing to do with burglar alarms). I quite like these rather rare curved hexagon boxes – sort of a new-fangled update on the classic Modern / ADT look. • Spotted: Kilburn High Road, Camden, London, NW6, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Locktec Security Group”, Camden: yawning

“Co-op Sunwin”, Stoke-On-Trent: brutalist tears

"United Co-op Sunwin Security" burglar alarm, Stoke-On-Trent • My family are from the Midlands, so I know that despite spawning heavy metal and Robbie Williams, the locals are decent people. But the sad fact is that a lot of the area is visually pretty dispiriting, and nowhere more so than the brutalist townscapes of the Potteries (except they don't make much pottery there any more, which is part of the problem). This about sums it up: a vast expanse of grey wall punctuated by a worn-out Co-op burglar alarm, rain-streaked with a white substance that could be pigeon shit, leached-out concrete, or the tears of a decommissioned lime kiln. • Spotted: Hanley town centre, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Stoke on Trent Central
“Co-op Sunwin”, Stoke-On-Trent: brutalist tears

“PM Security Systems”, Brighton: time and tied

"PM Security Systems" burglar alarm, Brighton • A mere chunk of chain on an identity that also references time, another popular alarm trope. It's a rough-looking bit of chain, more suited to leg irons than padlocks, though you'd be hard pressed to do anything useful with just three links. • Spotted: Sussex Square, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“PM Security Systems”, Brighton: time and tied

“Phoenix”, Sheffield: Phoenix Arizona

"Phoenix" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Perhaps reborn from yesterday's Phoenix, and unusually decorative for a burglar alarm, this tattoo-like design looks more Phoenix Arizona than ancient Greece. But though grandly-plumaged  birds such as the storm-bringing Thunderbird figure heavily in Native American culture, there is no equivalent of the phoenix rebirth myth, suggesting it developed in Eurasia after early humans had populated the Americas. Of course humans came that way again later, bringing their Eurasian diseases and resurrection legends with them; and thus the modern metropolis of Phoenix was born, so named because it arose from the long-abandoned ruins of a pre-Columbian city. Amazing how these Assyrian legends get around. • Spotted: Union Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Top row: phoenix tattoo designs reminiscent of this alarm. Bottom row: Native American birds – not related to Phoenixes, but looking similar. Bottom left:Bird with Red Snake” (1920) by Awa Tsireh from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC. Bottom right: painting of Kiowa Eagle Dancer by Stephen [Qued Koi] Mopope (1898-1974) from the Adobe Gallery, Santa Fe.
“Phoenix”, Sheffield: Phoenix Arizona

“Advanced Security”, Bristol: Georgian splendour

"Advanced Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Advanced alarm, ancient door. Like the wall behind Knight in Kilburn, it wouldn't look out of place in Renaissance Italy, though it's actually next door to a decaying industrial unit on the edge of one of the grittier parts of Bristol. The holes on either side of the stoop perhaps once held railings, though I prefer to imagine them as Georgian twin cat-flaps, or plus-size burrows for Banksy's never-ending parade of graffiti rats (he does come from Bristol, after all). • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Advanced Security”, Bristol: Georgian splendour

“ADT”, Derby: hexagons and tax barons

"ADT" burglar alarm, Derby • I've just emerged from a bout of research on my selection of "Modernist" alarm boxes – Modern, ADT, Thorn, Chubb, Capstan, Lander, Shorrock, Yale – and my head is spinning. I'd chosen them purely on design grounds, but with the exception of Capstan, they form a mind-boggling web of company takeovers, at least proving my theory that these stylish designs were created for the big boys. Security is a serious business, and this is globalism in action: the major firms are like a bunch of ever-larger Pac-Men chomping each other up from the 1900s to the present day, merging, PLC-ing and reverse-takeovering along the way, and led by figures including an emigrée philanthropist, a millionaire professor, a tax-dodging Baron, and a Croesus-salaried CEO currently in jail. Grandaddy of them all is ADT, an American firm formed in 1874, when a bunch of telegraph delivery firms incorporated as the American District Telegraph Company. By the 1960s they were a huge public concern, already operating in Britain, and in 1984 they were taken over by the Hawley Group, an acquisition vehicle run by business mogul Michael Ashcroft – aka controversial Baron Ashcroft of Belize, who was treasurer of the Conservative party while being non-domiciled in Britain and paying no UK tax. He renamed the company ADT Security Systems, registered it in tax haven Bermuda, and in 1997 sold it on to globalcorp Tyco (who make undersea cables and the like), via a reverse-takeover which gave Tyco Bermudan tax status too. At this point Tyco absorbed Modern Alarms and Thorn, and the all-conquering ADT we see here was born. Ashcroft bowed out, and in stepped CEO Leonard Kozlowski, who after trousering $81m in dodgy bonuses – some of which he allegedly spent on $6,000 shower curtains and an ice-sculpture of Michelangelo's David pissing vodka – ended up in jail from 2005 till 2022. I'm sure that nowadays everyone at Tyco and ADT is lovely and kind, and doesn't evade tax or have weeing ice-sculptures. But that's not what I'm really interested in: before I started learning all this, all I cared about was the yellow hexagonal box. So, to get back to the important stuff, it was designed by Colin Marsh for Modern Alarms to replace the round Eurobell featured yesterday, and taken on by ADT when they bought up Modern. ADT have used this so-called "nut" ever since, and they now have branches in over 50 countries, millions of customers, revenues in the billions, and – apparently – a 45 year contract to maintain the security of the British and American governments (expires 2034, so ex-CEO Len will be out of chokey by then). I don't know who Colin Marsh is, but he's obviously a talented designer: it would be nice to think he was getting a royalty for each of his ubiquitous yellow boxes. But given the lack of justice in the world – even the burglar alarm world – he probably isn't. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“ADT”, Derby: hexagons and tax barons