Skip to content

ADT

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

“ADT Security Systems”, Hackney: wonky

ADT Security Systems "ADT Security Systems" burglar alarm, Hackney • ADT is so familiar it's easy to overlook the logo, which is actually a rather wonkily-drawn three-letter monogram. Just for a change here's a variation on the famous yellow hexagon, and on its side, too. • Spotted: Shacklewell Lane, Hackney, London, E8, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington
“ADT Security Systems”, Hackney: wonky

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

“ADT”, Hackney: Cyberman piping

"ADT" burglar alarms, Hackney • I spotted these above an art gallery (Hoxton Square's full of them), and though not quite as impressive as the Design Museum's "Daisy" ADTs, it still looks a bit like a crappy art installation. To put it in art-speak, there's a poignant narrative tension in the way the lower ADT has been eternally blocked from joining its elevated companion by the Cyberman-esque piping snuggling round its head. And there's a cubist element in the repeated angles reminiscent of Paul Noble's Nobson Newtown, an immense pencil-drawn metropolis of everyday turd-folk presented in isometric projection (I'm not making this up) ... surely a contender for the Turner Prize next year. OK, that's enough spurious justification of a boring shot of two ADT burglar alarms. • Spotted: Hoxton Square, Hackney, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“ADT”, Hackney: Cyberman piping

“ADT”, Southwark: daisy chain

"ADT" burglar alarms, Southwark • I often find clusters of bell boxes, but they're usually random and mis-matched. However now and then I come across groups of identical sounders arranged into geometrical compositions, which – to use a fine art term – I think of as burglar alarm "multiples". This one takes the biscuit: six plastic daisies with ADT alarms as their centres, dancing across a wide white wall. It was a temporary installation on the side of London's Design Museum in 2005, but I never found out what it was in aid of. I quite liked the mystery, but after 30 seconds on Google I've discovered it was Daisy T from Sweet Dreams Security, "the ADT alarmbox flower attachment [that] transforms your existing alarmbox from dull and dreary to chirpy and cheery". In the mid-noughties the firm, brainchild of ex-graphic designer Matthias Megyeri, made some amazingly cute security products – from a CCTV camera disguised as a cat and butterfly-studded razor wire to teddybear padlocks and heart-shaped chain links (which sounds more like high-end bondage gear than a burglar deterrent). Apparently Megyeri was struck by the bizarre mixture of security and kitsch he saw on London homes, as compared with his native Stuttgart in Germany – especially all the ADT sounders – and set out to combine the two "to change the visual language of security products from depressing to seriously humorous". • Spotted: Shad Thames, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“ADT”, Southwark: daisy chain

“Intruder Alert” and “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: crusty

"Intruder Alert" and "ADT" burglar alarms, Tower Hamlets • This colourfully crusty corner is the sort of architectural detail that got me interested in photographing burglar alarms in the first place. There's only one kind of intruder causing problems here, and it's got feathers rather than a swag bag. Not to mention a very runny arse. • Spotted: White Church Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Intruder Alert” and “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: crusty

“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