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Uncommon shape

Eclipse, Derby: strange

Eclipse Alarms "Eclipse Alarms" burglar alarm, Derby • Strange choice of name for a solar-powered alarm! Nice to see a fully-illustrated eclipse, though. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
Eclipse, Derby: strange

Eagle, Westminster: completist

Eagle MargaretSt nr W1W 8RX 70864_800 "Eagle" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I've  featured this not-massively-exciting logo before, but here it is again on an unusual-shaped box, only the second example I've found (the first is here). Completist! • Spotted: Margaret Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Eagle, Westminster: completist

“Sentinel”, Hereford: shattered

"Sentinel" burglar alarm, Hereford • Same firm as yesterday, much older sounder. Presumably that bit of shattered electronics was a strobe once upon a time. The long-established firm is still around today in Hereford - you can see their current identity here, featuring the popular shield and silhouetted figure tropes.• Spotted: Town centre, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Hereford and South Herefordshire
“Sentinel”, Hereford: shattered

“Krypto Security”, Westminster: turret-shaped

"Krypto Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • And so we segue seamlessly from portcullises to fortifications in general – castles, fortresses, ramparts and so on. This looks like an old-style prison, which would be apt, but because I have seen other versions of Krypto's logo (coming soon), I know it's a castle. But what stands out here is the turret-shaped sounder – I wonder whether the logo was designed to fit it, or vice versa? I've never seen any other similarly-shaped sounders in the UK, though I have abroad. I'm not sad enough to snap burglar alarms on holiday, however – well, not often – so I don't have pictorial proof. • Spotted: New Cavendish Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Krypto Security”, Westminster: turret-shaped

“Swift Fire & Security”, Ealing: strangely static

"Swift Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Ealing • At last, a Swift that's easy to find – the 1982-founded company's website is here. You see absolutely loads of their alarms around, but nicely designed though it is, their logo doesn't visually suggest speed in any way; in fact, it looks positively static. It's on the same unusual soap-dish box as the Key Integrated Systems here, which I now know is called an Odyssey 4. • Spotted: Ashbourne Parade, Ealing, London, W5, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Ealing Central and Acton
“Swift Fire & Security”, Ealing: strangely static

“Alarmfast”, Glasgow: Caledonian sail

"Alarmfast" burglar alarm, Glasgow • Here's a more recent version of yesterday's self-explanatory "fast" alarm. They've moved to the unusual tupperware box-style shape I featured here, and pruned their weird logo to simply the spindly triangle, which now looks like a hang glider sail, or perhaps an arrow. The red sandstone wall behind it shows this is from Glasgow: Alarmfast sounders are all over the place there, as befits a 20-year-old Caledonian firm. • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“Alarmfast”, Glasgow: Caledonian sail

“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

"Cherry Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Plant-based imagery is surprisingly popular with security firms, so this week's theme is botanical alarms – that is, sounders featuring fruit, flowers and trees. And what better way to kick off than with this juicy pair of cherries – an image so loaded with fruity connotations that I'm simply not going there. Instead I'll just note that the sounder is the same unusual design as the ESS box featured here, and that Cherry's website features more flashing emergency lights than the Old Kent Road on a Saturday night. • Spotted: Marlborough Road, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

"Westronics Ltd" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Finally, another un-nameable shape, which is a bit like the body of a sea creature, or less imaginatively a razor. Maybe the ascendancy of these rounded, amorphous shapes over the chunky, straight-edged forms of yore is due to the advent of computer-aided 3D modelling, something achievable on a laptop today but requiring NASA-like processing power not so long ago. The Berkshire family firm behind this box has appropriately space-age roots, having been founded in 1969, year of the first moon landing. That era is reflected in their logo, which I think is a condensed version of Blippo, a font from 1969 based on Bauhaus supremo Herbert Bayer's influential "Universal Typeface" of the 1920s. I note that Westronics no longer uses this design of sounder, as demonstrated by the up-to-date deltas on their official website here. However it remains the only example of this shape I've come across, and I end with it because it also pictures the next theme, a weapon popular with ancient villains and security forces alike – the arrow. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

“Stew’s” burglar alarm, Margate: matey eco-shield

"Stew's Electrical & Security" burglar alarm, Margate • This would better belong with the shield forms at the beginning of my "uncommon shapes" theme, but it's a last-minute discovery and the only example of this box type I've ever found. It's also unique in being cheerily and possessively titled for the proprietor's first rather than last name. The box looks a bit like a cheap, upside-down version of this ESS enclosure – which, according to the commenters, was a chrome shield variation CQR Multibox. All Ramsgate-based Stew's matey details are on a large label, atypical for a sticker in looking professionally-designed. It features tiny icons of those popular security tropes lightning and locksmithery, plus an unusually harmonious (for burglar alarms) pale blue and green colour scheme, which wouldn't look out of place on eco-friendly washing powder. • Spotted: Market Street, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Stew’s” burglar alarm, Margate: matey eco-shield

“GD Security”, Southwark: un-describable wedgie

"GD Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • Another wedgie sounder with an un-describable shape, from the prolific GD Security, whose bulldog I've already featured here in the dogs category. While their guard mutt never changes, GD use a wide variety of box designs, usually in silver. This however is in blue and white, which I always think of as subliminal "police" colours. • Spotted: Morocco Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“GD Security”, Southwark: un-describable wedgie

“Yale”, Tower Hamlets: humdrum wedge

"Yale" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Now come a few odd-shaped sounders for which I can't find the correct geometrical terms (because there probably aren't any). The hulking contraption above is the dummy box companion to Yale's round sounder here – though as I commented there, if that is a gleaming Gouda, this is a mere humdrum wedge of Cheddar. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Yale”, Tower Hamlets: humdrum wedge

“Alarm Service Group”, Bristol: constructivist classic

"Alarm Service Group" burglar alarm, Bristol • As I've never seen it used by anyone but Alarm Service Group, I must assume that this super-smart and beautifully-designed modernist sounder is proprietary to them, though they also use Eurobells. Or, I should say, once used: the firm doesn't exist any more, though there are still lots of their boxes around in Bristol, mainly in very good condition. I love the yellow-and-green colour scheme, the broad green strobe (if that's what it is) at the bottom, and the mysterious symbolism of the logo – part totalitarian throwback, part bow-tied chains. Whoever came up with this constructivist classic had a great eye for design. There's a photo of one below on a massive Soviet-style building in Bristol: a perfect match. • Spotted: Wine Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West [caption id="attachment_11029" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="A perfect match: Alarm Service Group's modernist sounder graces the Soviet-style Cafe Central in Quay Street, Bristol, 2011"][/caption]
“Alarm Service Group”, Bristol: constructivist classic

“Abel”, Islington: glowing logo

"Abel" burglar alarm, Islington • A lot of pioneering British alarm companies were swallowed up by multinationals in the 1980s, but veteran firm Abel – like Banham, featured yesterday – endure. They were formed in 1965, and according to their website are now the UK's largest privately owned providers of electronic security systems. They certainly update their boxes regularly – compare and contrast the old red effort featured here with their current look, above. Utterly proprietary, it's a slim silver metal square with a die-cut logo that's illuminated from within, as shown glowing at dusk below. Slick! • Spotted: Upper Street, Islington, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Abel”, Islington: glowing logo

“Banham Security”, Southwark”: silver-grilled

"Banham Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • Before Banham developed their shield-shaped sounder they used all sorts of box styles, but this is the only shiny silver-grilled one I've found, and in fact the only example of this type of box I've ever seen. It's on an attractive old building in Bermondsey Street called the Time and Talents Settlement, home to a charity founded by local women in 1887 and still going strong today, offering locals "volunteering opportunities and numerous groups and projects to participate in". Maybe I'll go round and volunteer to run a burglar alarm-spotting course. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Banham Security”, Southwark”: silver-grilled

“Challenger”, Bristol: dull but rare

"Challenger Fortis Fidelis" burglar alarm, Bristol • OK, so this is a dull soapdishy shape. But it's the only version of this particular dull soapdishy shape I've ever found, and the logo's a bit of a classic – I always appreciate a shield and a Latin motto. Fortis et fidelis is a common heraldic phrase meaning "brave and faithful", "strong and loyal", or variations thereof; it's also a ridiculously overpriced brand of cognac• Spotted: Small Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Challenger”, Bristol: dull but rare

“AM Security Group”, Brighton: swelling sides

"AM Security Group" burglar alarm, Brighton • Not a super-rare case style, but unusual and striking nevertheless with its swelling sides. You see these mounted horizontally too, and with the right design and colourway such boxes can look stylish – though this isn't one of them. The busy logo manages to cram in references to time, a bit of a key at the end of the 'M', and radiating from the 'A' is a spiky circle that suggests a bandsaw or a gun sight, but is probably meant to be soundwaves. • Spotted: Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“AM Security Group”, Brighton: swelling sides

“Response Alarms”, Camden: ladies’ shaver

"Response Alarms" burglar alarm, Camden • This style of Response is much more common than yesterday's tricorder, and often has other firms' branding (the Response-branded version being a DIY alarm, I think). In its wavy curvaceousness, the case reminds me of nothing so much as a ladies' shaver. • Spotted: Tottenham Mews, Camden, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Response Alarms”, Camden: ladies’ shaver

“Response Alarms”, Lambeth: convoluted tricorder

"Response Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Response alarms are always a convoluted shape, perhaps due to their solar panels. This old example looks like some piece of kit off Star Trek's USS Enterprise – a tricorder, perhaps – and is the only one of its kind I've ever seen. • Spotted: Cornwall Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Response Alarms”, Lambeth: convoluted tricorder

“Minerva Integrated Security”, Camden: tasteful square

"Minerva Integrated Security Services Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • This is a very recent square design, so tasteful it resembles a Bang & Olufson speaker. At one point I thought such squares were going to take over the entire burglar alarm world, which would have been a bit dull; but they seem to have had their day already, and while not exactly rare, aren't a common sight either. I don't know if this firm is any relation to the venerable AFA Minerva of old – presumably not, as their website says they were formed in 2005. I can't work out what the jittery circular logo is meant to suggest, if anything – certainly not the Roman goddess the firm takes its name from. • Spotted: Great Russell Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Minerva Integrated Security”, Camden: tasteful square

“Securicor Granley”, Hackney: tupperware box

"Securicor Granley" burglar alarm, Hackney • You only see this giant tupperware cheesebox – a shape that bears no relation to any other sounder – on old Securicor and Securicor Granley boxes. They're quite rare and often pretty worn, but apart from being skew-wiff, this one is in decent condition. Some variations have the logo on a printed label affixed to the raised flat panel, but this is the most deluxe version, with the whole logo in moulded 3D type. • Spotted: Clifton Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Securicor Granley”, Hackney: tupperware box

“Cirencester Intruder Alarms”, Cirencester: oddity

"Cirencester Intruder Alarms" burglar alarm, Cirencester • Another square oddity, which reminds me of a 1970s clock radio – I'm loving the big blue bulb. The name conjures up visions of American secret agents rampaging round deepest Gloucestershire (which they probably do). • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds
“Cirencester Intruder Alarms”, Cirencester: oddity

“Shorrock”, Bristol: mini-fan-heater

"Shorrock" burglar alarm, Bristol • Now we're on to unusual square sounders, though this kind of design may be more common abroad – I've seen several in Belgium and Italy, for a start. The classic Shorrock is a pentagon as here, so I reckon this mini-fan-heater is older, though the logo's the same. • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Shorrock”, Bristol: mini-fan-heater

“Secom Carroll”, Lambeth: wedgie dual grille

"Secom Carroll Security Communication Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • And my final Carroll for now, after being taken over by Secom – which happened in 1989, according to the comment here. This is before Secom had their current logo or weird plug boxes, but it's still an unusual shape – a wedgey square with double grilles on each side. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Secom Carroll”, Lambeth: wedgie dual grille

“Carroll Security”, East Grinstead: badly-cut wedge

"Carroll Security" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • This must be an earlier version of yesterday's Carroll, as it looks like metal and they aren't yet a "Group". It's a more geometrical version of yesterday's logo, again professional, and surely designed in the 1970s. Once again it's an unusual sounder shape, this time like a badly-cult wedge of cheese. I used to think this was to fit the sloping roof, but I've seen others on flat walls since and they all have the same slanting box. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Carroll Security”, East Grinstead: badly-cut wedge

“Carroll Security Group”, Camden: maggoty arch

"Carroll Security Group" burglar alarm, Camden • I featured one of these arched sounders a while back for Nu-Tron, but they're pretty unusual, although I was informed in this comment there's a cache of them around Lyme Regis. This is a good use of the shape, with a professional-looking logo that reads as an S, a C, and also a kind of Yin-Yang symbol (or possibly two entwined maggots). The firm's name is in the font Rockwell, which is very redolent of the 1970s, though this must date from later. • Spotted: Tottenham Mews, Camden, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Carroll Security Group”, Camden: maggoty arch

“SYS”, Islington: deep pocket

"SYS" burglar alarm, Islington • An even deeper pocket than yesterday, decorated with a not-very-attractive unexplained acronym logo that's presumably meant to suggest "system". The firm's uninformative website is here and the actual sounder can be found here – this example is the only one I've come across in the flesh, so to speak. The logo is a reflected palindrome in the manner of Abba, ie it reads the same in both directions and is also physically reflected down the middle. Bizarrely, I do have an Abba alarm, which I shall post one day. • Spotted: Tollington Park, Islington, London, N4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“SYS”, Islington: deep pocket

“Pointer”, Derby: pocket dog

"Pointer" burglar alarm, Derby • I've already featured a couple of Pointers, but this is by far the most recent – and the only example of this slightly "pocketty" shape of sounder I've ever come across. I still like the cute mutt logo, now in a smart silver roundel. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Pointer”, Derby: pocket dog

“Key Integrated Systems”, Bristol: soap dish

"Key Integrated Systems" burglar alarm, Bristol • We're moving into uncommon rectangular shapes now, which basically means boxes with fancy edges or indentations – so although rare, they're not the most exciting of enclosures. This has a ridged clear panel beneath a curved white top, and is the only example I've ever seen. It's not very recognisable however, and the best I can say about it is that it's a bit like a soap dish, or perhaps a sea slug. I can't argue with the disco-tastic logo though, which manages to incorporate an acronym, a star, locksmithery, technology, and the fact that K.I.S. were established in 1976. How on earth does Bristol support so many independent security firms? It suggests it's the crime hot-spot of the western world, though I'm sure it's not. • Spotted: Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Key Integrated Systems”, Bristol: soap dish

“Micromark”, Great Missenden: 1960s sci-fi

"Micromark Security Systems" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • I've already featured Micromark in the retrofuturism section, and I now know they're a defunct DIY option – but I still like their unusual proprietary boxes, which are really 1960s sci-fi. There are quite a few yellow ones around, but this the only white-with-big-black-spot example I've seen. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“Micromark”, Great Missenden: 1960s sci-fi

“MicroTec Security”, Milton Keynes: fancy-edged

"MicroTec Security" burglar alarm, Milton Keynes • Like yesterday's pointy-sided MicroTec, this newer box is a rarely-sighted fancy-edged shape – indeed the only example I've seen. It's duller and less recognisable than the older enclosure however, so it's good to see they've kept their striking retrofuturist logo. • Spotted: Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK9, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Milton Keynes North
“MicroTec Security”, Milton Keynes: fancy-edged

“Microtec Security”, Richmond: pointy-sided survivor

"Microtec Security" burglar alarm, Richmond upon Thames • This is quite a striking old pointy-sided sounder design which doesn't crop up very often, though I also featured a vertical one here. I know that 20-year-old MicroTec Security still exists, and with much the same logo, because I was driving behind one of their vans in central London the other day – although they're actually based in Farnborough, Hampshire. Their name also qualifies them for the recent "retrofuturism" category, due celebrating micro-ness and tec-ness. This is a triple whammy as it also uses computer-style "camel caps", where a capital letter is used to break up two strung-together words. • Spotted: Barnes High Street, Richmond upon Thames, London, SW13, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Richmond Park
“Microtec Security”, Richmond: pointy-sided survivor

“Swale”, Southwark: bulky kitchen container

"Swale Security Systems Ltd Aquila group" burglar alarm, Southwark • Eight-sided but not a regular octagon, this resembles a bulky kitchen container. I've only found a few of these ungainly objects, which are sometimes mounted vertically. Swale makes me think of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales, but it's actually an area of Kent at the mouth of the Thames. Its main town is Sittingbourne, and that's where this firm was based, though I think it exists no more. Aquila Group describes itself as "a group of independent electronic security companies", which presumably swallowed Swale up. Their website has limited functionality, but there's a picture here of an Aquila sounder similar to the day before yesterday's heptagonal Servian. Then there's a German Aquila Group that has the same logo, but deals with giant cargo ships; and all sorts of international conglomerates and financial funds with a similar name, who surely have nothing to do with little Swale Security. Aquila is Latin for "eagle", and can refer to the Roman legion standard, a constellation, and Roman boss-god Jupiter's pet raptor (who in Greek mythology carried thunderbolts for Zeus), hence the popularity of naming for shadowy James Bond-esque behind-the-scenes organisations.• Spotted: Decima Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Swale”, Southwark: bulky kitchen container

“Saturn”, Brighton: heptagonal planet

"Saturn Security Systems" burglar alarm, Brighton • The same heptagonal box as yesterday, but with different strobes – it's the only one I've ever found like this, and I always like a sounder with a planet on it. Google threw up a few Saturn Securities, but none were this firm – I finally tracked them down on an old business directory, but the listed website has disappeared so presumably the company has too. Those screws are a bit rusty, so it certainly can't have been opened for a while. • Spotted: Bristol Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Saturn”, Brighton: heptagonal planet

“Servian”, Chelsea: heptagonal defence structure

"Servian" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Regular polygons aren't that common, especially heptagons – the only other similar sounder I've featured is here. Hampshire-based Servian's sterile lozenge logo reminds me of pharmaceuticals packaging, but the name actually recalls ancient Rome's burglar alarm-appropriate Servian Wall, a massive defensive barrier made from blocks of volcanic rock, which repelled Hannibal amongst others. So strong was it that some of the 2,400-year-old edifice still stands today, with a large chunk next to Rome's main railway station.There's even a bit, apparently, in the station's McDonalds. • Spotted: Pont Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington Above: ancient Rome, showing the Servian wall in blue, and the later Aurelian wall in red, plus an impressive remnant of the Servian Wall next to Rome's Termini Station.
“Servian”, Chelsea: heptagonal defence structure

“Next Gen”, Hackney: shiny Trekkie plug

"Next Gen Security Systems" burglar alarm, Hackney • Half-way between the Secom and Ambush plugs, though with eight sides rather than six, this is another rarely-seen bell box shape that resembles a giant electrical plug. It would be quite attractive if the logo wasn't so basic, which is a waste of tasteful chrome. In its futuristicness, it can't help but conjure up Captain Picard and his chums from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In contrast, the Elstree-based firm's website has a brilliant stock photo of an old school "pantomime burglar" wearing black hat, gloves and goggles. Make it so! • Spotted: Hoxton Square, Hackney, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Next Gen”, Hackney: shiny Trekkie plug

“Ambush”, Tower Hamlets: chunky UK plug

"Ambush Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This looks even more like a chunky British electrical plug than yesterday's Secom, and is the only example of this sounder shape I've ever come across. It's the only Ambush device I've found too: a quick Google shows they're an Uxbridge outfit that formed in 1998, and acquired Jaguar Alarm Company in 2005 (possibly this firm). The ancient tactic of ambush is a classic militia-style burglar alarm name, of the kind that started me writing this bonkers blog in the first place; in olden times, such a manoeuvre might have involved battalions of soldiers concealed behind a hilltop, but I imagine this firm's response is more modest. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Ambush”, Tower Hamlets: chunky UK plug

“Secom”, Islington: dirty great plug

"Secom" burglar alarm, Islington • And after yesterday's "rebadged" Secom, here's a very dirty example of the real thing, featuring the bland "UK plug" shape usually only seen on the Japanese conglomerate's sounders and thus presumably a proprietary design (though they do use rectangular boxes too). Sometimes these deltas have neat rectangular strobes on the base as here, and that's as exciting as it gets. • Spotted: Goswell Road, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Secom”, Islington: dirty great plug

“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
“Ambassador”, West Wycombe: stray Secom plug

“DDD Fire & Security”, Hackney: illuminated wedge

"DDD Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • Morphing onwards from the last few days' triangles and shields, this is a flat-bottomed wedge that lights up at night. They used to be pretty rare, hence featuring here in the "uncommon shapes" category, though I fear they are swiftly becoming popular (fear, because they're impossible to photograph well when illuminated). In purely visual terms, they look quite effective and I prefer them to the chunky faceted "jewel" shapes of the last decade or so; however when I featured one recently, it met with a certain amount of derision from the commenters. As for DDD Fire & Security, they're a large Coventry-based firm who were founded in 1968, but their website gives no clue to what the memorable triple D stands for – presumably not a bra size. I've come across various "3D" firms – one stood for "Defend, Deter, Detect" – so maybe it's a variant on that, without the unhelpful connotations of coming third. • Spotted: Hewett Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“DDD Fire & Security”, Hackney: illuminated wedge

“ESS”, Tower Hamlets: bottom-lopped shield

"ESS" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Here's a rarely-seen shape that's very similar to Banham's proprietary shield, but with the crucial difference of having its bottom lopped off. Although ESS is an unexplained acronym, l happen to know that this psychedelic soundwave design belongs to Essex Security Services, who seem to regularly update their logo and sounders – not to be confused with ESS (Electronic & Security Services) in Northern Ireland, or ESS-Security Ltd of Leeds. Not the most exclusive set of initials, clearly. • Spotted: Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“ESS”, Tower Hamlets: bottom-lopped shield

“Tara”, Kensington: venerable green shield

"Tara" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Yet another take on the triangle, this venerable shield classifies as "uncommon" because it's used only by divisions of Banham, who must have taken over Tara at some point (they used to have really boring rectangular boxes with a very basic logo). You see many Taras in Kensington & Chelsea, so I liked to imagine the firm was named after some posh filly (eg Palmer Tomkinson) rather then the Scouse for goodbye – this one was even found in Cheval (ie horse) Place. But as pointed out in this comment, the Hill of Tara is an important Irish Neolithic site that was the mythical seat of Ireland's high kings – hence perhaps the green logo, which I'm rather partial to. • Spotted: Cheval Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW7, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
“Tara”, Kensington: venerable green shield

“Avon Security”, Bristol: round-cornered triangle

"Avon Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Avon calling: a modern take on the triangle, available with different-coloured surrounds. You don't see them that often, although it's a nice-looking design; however Avon have managed to take it downmarket with a basic, skew-wiff sticker. • Spotted: King Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Avon Security”, Bristol: round-cornered triangle

“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Sheffield • After yesterday's unusual pentagonal Chubb, here's the classic equilateral triangle version. Not an uncommon design per se as there are lots of Chubbs around, but it's a one-firm shape, and the sharp-cornererd metal vintage ones like this are starting to rust into oblivion, normally from the bottom edge up – maybe the design causes rainwater  to collect there. • Spotted: Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

“Chubb”, Camden: pentagonal imposter

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Camden • A pentagonal rather than triangular Chubb – unusual! You normally only see this shape on Initial and Shorrock alarms, so I'm guessing that when Chubb took them over they retained a few legacy sounders. The screw in the C totally ruins the effect, unfortunately. • Spotted: Charlotte Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Chubb”, Camden: pentagonal imposter

“Crime Cure”, Bristol: vintage inverted pocket

"Crime Cure" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is an absolutely classic sounder, and it makes me chuckle every time I see it. I found it at eye level in downown Bristol, the city that never stops giving great burglar alarm gifts. Everything about it, from my shallow design-based point of view, is good: it's vintage metal; an unusual "inverted pocket" shape (though I have found one other); rare use of green; amusing name in bold modernist type; and a complex piece of heraldry incorporating eight popular security tropes in a tiny space, namely lions, keys, an eye, a padlock, some bars, a shield, a castle, and even a motto – "protect and deter". An internet search on "crime cure security" throws up firms in business listings all over the place, including Bristol, but as none have their own websites I'm assuming they're all defunct.• Spotted: High Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Crime Cure”, Bristol: vintage inverted pocket

“Bates Alarms”, Southwark: pocket psycho

"Bates Alarms" burglar alarm, Southwark • If yesterday's Friedland was a pouch, this is a jeans back pocket. I've found it billed as an obsolete Euro-Siren so I assume it's not proprietary, though it's a shape I've only seen used by Bates Alarms. Established in 1965, they describe themselves as London's oldest independent electronic security company; their awkward "ba" logo, which possibly dates from that era, also earns them a spot in the "naive monogram" category. It's a bit pathetic, but I always think of Norman Bates from Psycho when I spot one – not the most reassuring of associations. • Spotted: Webber Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Bates Alarms”, Southwark: pocket psycho

“Friedland”, Newham: solar-powered pouch

"Friedland" burglar alarm, Newham • I can only describe this as a "pouch". It looks a bit like a paper shredder, but I think the grille on top is a solar panel. Web research shows that Friedland is a division of Honeywell, whose name occasionally crops up on vintage alarms, and who still boast the same logo. • Spotted: Marshgate Lane, Newham, London, E15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Friedland”, Newham: solar-powered pouch

“Evolution”, Westminster: possibly a squoval

"Evolution (Electronic Security Systems) Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I'm being pedantic here, but unlike yesterday's alarm this isn't quite an oval (or ellipse), because the ends are a bit squared off – so it may be a "squoval", a stupid term for a squared-off oval which possibly exists only in the mind of a Wikipedia editor. Whatever, this Evolution box is the sole example of this particular design I've come across, so it's definitely uncommon. The racy phone number, 07000 EVOLUTION, makes it sound like you can ring up and jump forward a gene pool or two – amazing to think that Darwin's "dangerous idea" has now become so commonplace you can even find it on burglar alarms. • Spotted: Little Portland Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Evolution”, Westminster: possibly a squoval

“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: oval or ellipse?

"Wilkin Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Ovals sounders aren't totally rare, but they're uncommon enough to include here as I've only found about four firms using them. All were this specific design, though one had a white rather than blue panel at the back. It's possibly an ellipse rather than an oval, but I don't have enough maths to understand what the difference is. I featured a virulent yellow guano-streaked Wilkin sounder here a while back – this is obviously a newer design. • Spotted: Wellington Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: oval or ellipse?

“Young & Young”, Chelsea: shorn-off circle

"Young & Young" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Attempting to proceed logically through the uncommon shapes, yesterday's deep drum leads on to a nice silver box that's almost a circle, except for a bit shorn off the base. Whether there's a proper geometrical name for such a construct, I have no idea – "arc" doesn't sound right, so maybe it's a massive "segment". Whatever it's called, Young & Young are the only example of it I've come across on a sounder so far. • Spotted: Cadogan Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chelsea and Fulham
“Young & Young”, Chelsea: shorn-off circle

“First Choice”, Westminster: Buddhist drum

"First Choice" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, time for a rather large new category: uncommon shapes. By that I mean sounder covers in shapes that don't crop up that often, either through general unpopularity, or because they're the preserve of one particular firm. Circular sounders aren't rare, but this particular design – a deep cylinder with semi-notched sides – I've only seen used by First Choice, perhaps to match their yin-yang logo. Unsuited as a Buddhist peace symbol may seem to the business of felon-fighting, it's not the only example I've found on a burglar alarm, though the other one may have been a "political statement" as I found it in a radical part of Bristol – I'll publish it one day. • Spotted: Great Titchfield Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“First Choice”, Westminster: Buddhist drum

“Nu-Tron”, Tower Hamlets: thermonuclear device

"Nu-Tron Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Thanks to various commenters, I now know that Nu-Tron is the successor company to yesterday's M-Tronic, and you can certainly see the resemblance in the big rounded initial. It's an unusual shape of box which I've not featured before, and anything called Nu-Tron that looks more like an Old-Tron simply demands to be put in the "retro-futurist" category. But as for naming your sounders after a thermonuclear device specifically designed to kill all nearby humans while leaving buildings standing? A bit extreme, surely. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Nu-Tron”, Tower Hamlets: thermonuclear device

“Secom”, Southwark: not impersonal but inscrutable

"Secom" burglar alarm, Southwark • I've never been very interested in these polite Secom alarms – both the graphics and the name are so impersonal, like something from a Swiss clinic. Even their unique proprietary sounder, a flattish sort-of-triangle reminiscent of a clunky British electrical plug, is fundamentally boring. Having always assumed that these were the signifiers of a dull European multinational, I was surprised to discover a far more exotic provenance: for Secom are Japan's biggest, and oldest (according to them) private security firm. So, inscrutable rather than impersonal – my impressions were at least semi-correct. Founded in 1962 by Makoto Iida and Juichi Toda, Secom claim to have pioneered the "man-machine philosophy" – not, sadly, an army of tiny robots, but a combination of "highly trained personnel and high technology security equipments" (sic). They expanded in a similar manner to the classic British alarm outfits of the 60s – except, rather than being eventually absorbed by an external multinational, they did the absorption themselves, listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1978. In 1991 they acquired the large UK firm Caroll Security Group, itself a successor to the family-owned Lodge Lock and Safe Company, founded in 1918 (I've never spotted a Lodge alarm, though Caroll's unusual round-topped boxes are still around). There are now Secom operations in 12 countries, including the USA, Australia and much of Indo-China, and I bet they use the same boring identity in every single place. Secom's Japanese website certainly uses the same colours and logo, alongside a version in Japanese script and a badly-designed tangle of cute cartoons. It's so impenetrable that I haven't been able to find any images of native Japanese Secom boxes, but I can report that they do to offer Secom food, which looks pretty revolting. • Spotted: Farnham Place, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Secom”, Southwark: not impersonal but inscrutable