“Phoenix Security Systems” burglar alarm, Shrewsbury • I always like mythological creatures on alarms – there’s another good Phoenix here. • Spotted: Claremont Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1, England, 2014 • Politics: […]
“Beta Security” burglar alarm, Aylesbury • It’s all Greek to moi. There’s another here. • Spotted: High Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Aylesbury
“Atlas Alarms” burglar alarm, Manchester • As opposed to Alas Alarms. • Spotted: Canal Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
“Britannia” burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I prefer Britannia alarms that have union jacks or actual figures of Britannia on, like this one (which combines both). • Spotted: Great Peter […]
“Westcountry Security” burglar alarm, Camden • Far from home: Camden isn’t even in West London, let alone the West Country. I also do’t understand what the Omega-type logo has to […]
“Eastern Security” burglar alarm, Southwark • Now for the east. This one’s bonkers, what has Tutankhamen (if it is he) got to do with anything? I guess Egypt’s east of […]
“Sussex Alarms” burglar alarm, Brighton • Blimey, those Romans got everywhere. • Spotted: Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“SDS Samson Direct Security” burglar alarm, Kingswear • Double defence: a Roman helmet and a biblical strongman. • Spotted: Higher Street, Kingswear, Devon, TQ6, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency […]
“Arbeia Electrical Contractors” burglar alarm, South Shields • Now for […]
“Atlantis Secure Systems / Crime Stop” burglar alarm, Newham • […]
“Certes” burglar alarm, Camden • Circular Certes; there’s a rectangular one with no roundel here. • Spotted: Percy Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency […]
“Aztek Services” burglar alarm, Cambridge • Initially this seems like a weird name, but I suppose it’s meant to suggest “A to Z Tech”. • Spotted: Castle Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, […]
“Chubb a UTC Fire & Security Company” burglar alarm, Newquay • And finally, an Omega. Which is actually the top of an obscured West Country Alarms (I think that’s what […]
“Jude Security” burglar alarm, Cardiff • This is a really weird logo – I have no idea what it’s meant to be, or how it relates to the name Jude […]
“Delta Fire and Security” burglar alarm, Islington • Surprisingly I couldn’t find any Gamma burglar alarms (that being the third letter of the Greek alphabet and quite a good name), […]
“Beta Security” burglar alarm, Aylesbury • Second letter of many an alphabet. Still think it’s better to use the first. • Spotted: Highbridge Walk, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21, England, 2010 • […]
“Alpha” burglar alarm, Manchester • With little screwhole eyes. • Spotted: Little Peter Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
“Alpha” burglar alarm, Derby • And now a very short run of Greek letters. Starting with Alpha, natch. (And still quite grungy.) • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 […]
“Tribune Security Alarms” burglar alarm, Cardiff • Looks like pigeon poo to me. • Spotted: Womanby Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10, Wales, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of […]
“Olympic Alarms” burglar alarm, Bolton • Starting today, the rather sad category of “grungy” alarms. Which this one indisputably is. • Spotted: St Georges Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1, England, 2010 • […]
“Krypto Security” burglar alarm, Hackney • From the sublime to the ridiculous: yesterday the Mona Lisa’s smile, today some gurning New Romantic clown. • Spotted: Rivington Street, Hackney, London, EC2, […]
“Beta Security Ltd” burglar alarm, Islington • I can see why you’d call your firm Alpha, but Beta? It’s a popular name though. Maybe it stands for “beater”. Or “better”. • […]
“AFA Minerva Thorn EMI” burglar alarm, Bath • Maximum name-ology on what I take to be a plastic drum box and therefore possibly early 1980s. An unusual find because normally […]
“AFA Minerva EMI” burglar alarm, Glasgow • Could this be the shallower “Mk 2” metal drum, ie lighter red and fitted flush with the wall? It was found on the […]
“AFA Minerva EMI” burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I take it this is still the original deep metal drum, as it looks exactly like yesterday’s box, but now multi-branded. These Minerva […]
“Ariel Alarms” burglar alarm, City of Westminster • If I’m honest this is exactly the same as the other Ariel I published here, except without a ripped label. However, that […]
"Apollo Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Found near the Archbishop of Canterbury's gaff at Lambeth Palace, this features un-Christian Apollo, favourite Greek god of burglar alarms. So maybe that triangle of radiating waves is meant to be sunrays, rather than the more usual soundwaves.• Spotted: Lambeth Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
"Alpha Alarms" burglar alarm, Fowey • A lot of these triangular logo-monograms start with the letter "A", unsurprisingly. This nice Cornish example takes triangular As to their logical conclusion, though I'm not clear why there are three of them; maybe they've included the final "A" of "Alpha". In a nice rural twist, Alpha derives from the Phoenician Aleph, meaning ox; so they could have just pictured a giant cow on it. • Spotted: Fore Street, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
"Apollo Alarms" burglar alarm, Cardiff • Enough with the classical deities, already. Apollo isn't just a famous sun god, a long-lasting space programme, and the title of another older burglar alarm, but the ancient Greek name for the planet Mercury, when observed just before dawn as a morning star. • Spotted: Womanby Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10, Wales, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Cardiff Central
"Phoenix Total Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Why is everything in the sky named after Greek mythology? As well as a constellation, the fire-renewing Phoenix bird has lent its name to a prototype launch vehicle, a galaxy cluster, a dwarf galaxy, a NASA mission to Mars, and – as Project Phoenix – the famous SETI, a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. And now, for the third time on this blog, it's on a burglar alarm too. • Spotted: Marylebone Road, City of Westminster, London, NW1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
"Cerberus" burglar alarm, Bristol • Weird blank arched alarm named after the three-headed guard dog to the entrance of Hades, also known as a constellation and a dark spot on Mars, amongst other astronomical things. There's a very tiny logo on there, but I can't work out what it is: it looks like a a book, a shield and a knight stumbled into the telepod machine that turned Jeff Goldblum into The Fly.• Spotted: John Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Orion Security Solutions" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Maybe this portrays a scene from deep within the Orion constellation – a planet in shadow, with some little moons floating in front of it, all in the infinite blackness of outer space (a fanciful theory somewhat quashed by the fact that Orion do the box in white as well). • Spotted: Beehive Place, Lambeth, London, SW9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood
"Orion" burglar alarm, York • Ah, the multi-faceted Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology who has lent his name to a region of the night sky, the Lunar Module used in the Apollo 16 mission, NASA's Space Shuttle replacement, a brace of space stations, and vast amounts of other scientific and astronomical things too. Not to mention a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
"Quantum Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Judging by the name, this is possibly meant to represent an atom. But it looks like Saturn, so I've included it under astronomy too. • Spotted: New Cavendish Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
"Saturn Protection" burglar alarm, Liverpool • On the mythology front, Saturn was an ancient and rather complex Roman god. However this design concentrates entirely on outer space, quite a lot of which has been crammed in: a magnificent section of ring-swirled Saturn, with a jaunty space probe bearing a tiny "S" logo circling it. It's possibly Pioneer 11, the first probe to Saturn. Excellent! • Spotted: Town centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
"Jupiter Alarms" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Large planet, though not red (that's Mars), so maybe the rosy blob is one of its 67-odd moons, the reddish Io. The planet is named after Iuppiter, chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras – he's often represented by a thunderbolt, also popular on burglar alarms. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
"Logic Fire & Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Says Wikipedia: "Logic (from the Greek logikē) has two meanings: first, it describes the use of valid reasoning in some activity; second, it names the normative study of reasoning or a branch thereof. In the latter sense, it features most prominently in the subjects of philosophy, mathematics, and computer science." And thus, by use of the former definition, I deduce that it is a valid member of my maths and computing set. • Spotted: Newman Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
"Radius" burglar alarm, Lambeth • In classical geometry, the radius of a circle or sphere is the length of a line segment from its center to its perimeter. The name comes from the Latin radius, meaning 'ray', but also the spoke of a chariot wheel. And it's also one of the two sub-elbow arm bones, so called because it rotates around the other one, the ulna. Thanks, Wikipedia! • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
"Abacus Integrated Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • Abacus seem to have had about a million different designs and logos, most of which I found studded all over a building in Kings Cross which has just been knocked down. This one looked like the most recent iteration – quite a change from the naive abacus A of yesterday. • Spotted: Britannia Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
"Abacus" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Today I move on to maths and computing with the oldest computer of all, an abacus – known to ancient Mesopotamians long before burglar alarm engineers got in on the act. Loving the way the A is actually made out of a (somewhat bead-depleted) abacus on this. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
"Westronics Reading" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Another "tronic" alarm: in fact the word is a Greek suffix referring to a device, tool, or instrument. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
"Steel Tronics" burglar alarm, Southend-on-Sea • The non-word "tronics" somehow has a retro ring to it, redolent of 1970s-80s hi-fi stores. That said, I quite like this confident leaning logo. • Spotted: Town centre, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Rochford and Southend East
"Triton Electronics" burglar alarm, Edinburgh • Triton was the Greek messenger god of the seas. Not sure what that's got to do with electronics – it sounds like a dangerous mix. • Spotted: Moray Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH3, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh North and Leith
"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
“Quantum Security” burglar alarm, Camden • Basically a discrete energy packet, from the Latin for “quantus,” meaning “how much”. Although the logo looks more like the planet Saturn. • Spotted: Parkway, […]
“Securus Alarm” burglar alarm, Lowestoft • Great old sounder with a big S and a clever name: as well as sounding like “Secure Us”, Securus is also Latin for fearless, […]
"Optima Alarms" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • Presumably this is meant to suggest more Latin, ie optimus, from which we derive optimal or optimum – all words for best. Optima however is a typeface, though not the one used on this sounder. • Spotted: High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
"Alpha" burglar alarm, Manchester • Ancient Greek for "A", deriving from the Phoenecian for "ox" – and since those days, ie quite a long time ago, used to describe something very good. • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
"Decorum Alarms" burglar alarm, Camden • Surely the most genteel name for a burglar alarm firm ever, and appropriate for the decorous Hampstead borders where I found it. Should belong in a posh little sub-genre with Kudos from Bath, which featured right at the start of this blog, and which has the same type of clock-radio-alike sounder. • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
"Status Alarms Coventry" burglar alarm, Stratford-upon-Avon • Starting today is the essentially boasty theme of excellence - whether a self-proclaimed quality of the burglar alarm firm, or conferred by the bell box upon the client. In this case it's the latter: with this sounder, you will gain status. I once saw one on a Prince of Wales pub, which is an ideal site. You can also get light bulbs (the old fashioned energy-gulping kind) called Status, which - like a burglar alarm - is either on or off, I guess. • Spotted: Cook's Alley, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Stratford-on-Avon
"ATA Systems Protegimus" burglar alarm, Bristol • Not sure if this is related to yesterday's ATA – the trestle-tabley monogram's quite similar, if somewhat ambiguous as to whether it says AA or ATA. The surrounds, however, are vastly more intricate: a heraldic array of shield, crossed swords, scary cyclops eye, what looks like a maltese cross poking out from behind, and all supported with a scroll bearing the Harry Potteresque declamation "Protegimus" (we protect). Leaving nothing to chance, then. • Spotted: Nova Scotia Place, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Aeon Electronic Protection Systems" burglar alarm, Bristol • Now we move on to astronomical time, literally - the term "aeon" has been used to describe the period between big bangs, though to the ancient Greeks it meant simply eternity. All that and a crosshair too. • Spotted: Royal Oak Avenue, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Century Alarms" burglar alarm, Derby • I already published one of these here in the Roman Britain theme, with a slightly different box. But Century also suggests time: 100 years, in fact. Hope they're referring to longevity, and not response time. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
"IDES Intruder Detection and Electrical Services" burglar alarm, Glasgow • The Ides was part of the fantastically complex early Roman calendar system, as in Julius Caesar's fateful assassination date, the Ides of March (aka March 15, 44 BC). Probably a coincidence, as this is an acronym for the firm's unwieldy full name, but enough to get it in the "Time" category. • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
"CPM" burglar alarm, Hackney • Not sure if this rather minimal logo is meant to be a clever play on "post meridiem", as in "see you in the evening", but I shall give it the benefit of the doubt. • Spotted: Curtain Road, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
"AM Alarm Maintenance" burglar alarm, Cambridge • An abbreviation for Alarm Maintenance, but handily for my "Time" theme, also shorthand for "ante meridiem". I'm also enjoying the sounder's black letter font and the frankly horrible colour scheme of the wall it's affixed to. • Spotted: Hills Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of South Cambridgeshire
"Delta Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • According to useless Yahoo Answers, there are no river deltas in Britain, because there's not a vast enough area of flat land. But I've found one: the Wandle Delta. Admittedly it's just an forgotten little industrial creek off the Thames, but hey – we can't all be the Mississippi. In fact there are plans to smarten it up with posh housing, but I rather like how it looks now – must go and explore it before it's too late. Amazing the things you learn researching burglar alarms! • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Above: a great pic of the Wandle Delta by Tom Bolton – see more on Flickr here
"AllguarDelta Security" burglar alarm, Derby • Those bearskin hats actually are made of brown bear, all the way from Canada. Apparently the Army has tried to find a synthetic substitute, without any success. I suggest: macramé. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
"Mono" burglar alarm, Manchester • Mono: not just a type of lo-fi single-channel sound associated with the quintessential early 45rpm pop records, but a little-known British electronica duo who had a 1990s hit with the James Bondy-sounding "Life in Mono" (apparently – I certainly don't remember it, so maybe it was just in the US). • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central The unmemorable and not-very-good (in my opinion) band Mono
"Amco" burglar alarm, Camden • I suppose AMCO stands for Alarm Monitoring Co. But what of the Harry Potterish legend "Superna petamus", which doesn't, as the petals in the middle would suggest, mean "always flowering"? Well, the slightly different "Superna Petimus" means "We seek higher things", and is the motto of RAF Cranwell, where RAF officers are trained. This spelling, I think, means "let us seek higher things", and though AMCO's logo doesn't look like RAF Cranwell's coat of arms, it does resemble a British military badge. So endeth a super-category started several weeks ago, namely militia. And now, as Monty Python famously said, for something completely different... • Spotted: Goodge Place, Camden, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
"Nexus Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I quote from the University of Wikipedia: "Nexus is a connection, usually where multiple elements meet, as for example spokes at a hub, originally from a Latin verb meaning 'connect, bind'." Despite its classical origins, the word is kind of sci-fi sounding, which is why it's also been used in everything from Bladerunner to World of Warcraft. I don't know what connection that has to a shield with a crusader-style crucifix on it. • Spotted: Wrexham Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
"Britannia" burglar alarm, Southwark • I end the Roman Britain theme as I began, with Britannia – I never tire of their swinging sixties-style logo, which wouldn't look out of place in a Paul Smith boutique. This old box has a bulb on top, which thanks to the comment here I now know is considered somewhat insecure, as a passing ne'er-do-well could use it to lever the alarm off. • Spotted: Morocco Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
"Aztec Solutions" burglar alarm, Bristol • The logo says "Aztec Securities" (which, if Aztec practices were actually followed, would involve ritually ripping out the still-beating hearts of felons), but the designer has surely used clip art of a Roman soldier to illustrate it. This headgear looks strongly like a legionary's plumed helmet with visor and ear guard to me, rather than a pre-Columbian feathered headdress with ear plugs. Either that or Sussex Alarms is portraying an Aztec too. • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Defender" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Although small, this logo definitely portrays a Roman soldier – see the close-up, below. Bit of a weird concept for illustrating the firm's name though, seeing as in Britain the Romans were invaders, rather than defenders. • Spotted: Brown Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
"Sussex Alarms" burglar alarm, Brighton • Not, as it may appear, Darth Vader, but a Roman soldier in his finely-crafted helmet.Sussex was positively crawling with Romans in olden days, their metal headgear being vastly superior to the barbarians' leather contraptions. Not that I am suggesting Sussex is full of barbarians. • Spotted: Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
"MG Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • It may be slightly contentious to lump this Scottish sounder in under Roman Britain, as the Romans famously never colonised Caledonia – partly because they weren't really that keen on it, apparently. So, although this fellow looks pretty Roman to me, he could be a Pict. The lack of a leather skirt (called, unpronounceably, a "pteruges") is no proof either way, though, as legionaries favoured trousers ("braccae") in colder climes. And of course the kilt hadn't been invented yet – it was the Victorians who dreamt that particular skirt up. • Spotted: Central Station area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
"Citadel Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • The ghostly guardian on this is so worn out he looks like a marauding mummy or a giant robot (reproduced small), but the name Citadel suggests it's a Roman soldier. And the sounder's nearly as ancient as its source matter. • Spotted: Southwark Bridge Road, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
"Century Alarms" burglar alarm, Derby • This dapper centurion is a lot calmer than yesterday's stabby specimen. At least I'm assuming he's a centurion (it's a play on the name Century, geddit?) – either that or he's a fireman in a dress. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
Nameless burglar alarm with Roman soldier, Sheffield • This is the most violent sounder image I have: an anonymous Roman legionary unashamedly going about a ferocious felon-stabbing – or possibly ritual disembowelling – with a calm, impassive expression on his face. Either he's a robot, a la Westworld, or he's simply a psychopath. Burglars beware! • Spotted: Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
"Corinium Security Cirencester" burglar alarm, Cirencester • Just as elderly but somewhat less DIY than yesterday's Corinium sounder, this features a stern Roman legionary protecting the premises. In fact he's so grumpy-looking (see enlargement, below), you'd think he was stuck out on blustery, Scot-bashed Hadrian's Wall rather than in the softie southern posting of Cirencester. • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds
"Corinium Security Cirencester" burglar alarm, Cirencester • Corinium – it's the Roman name for Cirencester, don't you know. I always imagined Cirencester was some cowshit-strewn rural dump till I went there, then I realised it was really posh. I guess it got rich in Roman times, and stayed that way ever since. Hence perhaps their devotion to their ancient name. • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds
"Britannia" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • You'd think invasion was a bad subject for burglar alarms – let alone for a country – but both Britain and security firms seem to revel in our colonisation by Rome. Thus there are quite a few alarms on a "Romans in Britain" theme – or, as this one more accurately puts it, in Britannia. I prefer Britannia's older two designs, here, assuming it's the same firm. But thankfully they've retained the Union Jack (or Union Flag, as we're boringly supposed to call it these days), and are to be applauded for depicting only the fourth woman I've come across on a sounder. However Boadicea might have been better, as she at least tried to keep the Romans at bay.• Spotted: Strand, City of Wetminster, London, WC2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
"Senator Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Passing from ancient Rome to modern America, Senator is the most enduring political title of all time. Perhaps that's why this burglar alarm is marked, unusually, with a rather fierce-looking cross – to indicate a vote of confidence. • Spotted: Verulam Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
"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
"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
"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
"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.
"Keyways" burglar alarm, Manchester • Here's an updated, less-basic version of yesterday's Keyways Alarm, though the obsolete 0161 Manchester code indicates it's still quite old. It's a more sophisticated design, although the Greek key aspect has been somewhat lost due to the white-on-white portion of the spiral (unless it's just faded). Also missing is the word "alarm" – I've noticed that when firms modernise their identities, that's usually the first thing to go. Presumably mere burglar alarms are considered hopelessly outmoded in today's world of high-tech multi-functional security systems. Thanks to a nice comment from Keyways' boss Mike Greaves on yesterday's post, I now know that this classical key reference was chosen by his late father Brian in the 1960s, and is absolutely intentional; it relates to the firm's origins in developing a specialised form of key safe, of which there's a potted history on the informative Keyways website. That geometric spiral was a cleverly-chosen and far-sighted piece of branding, because unlike all the other keys depicted in this Locksmithery section, Greek keys – being both abstract, and so ancient they're effectively timeless – don't date. • Spotted: Canal path, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M4, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
"Keyways Alarms" burglar alarm, Manchester • We've had visual keys, verbal keys, and now, from Manchester's "gay village" of Canal Street, an abstract key. It's a Greek key to be precise, as featured in this frieze below a vintage Panda sounder in Liverpool. According to Wikipedia, the correct term is a "meander" pattern or Greek fret (which sounds like a bailout-related sulk), though I've never seen those terms used in the UK. Whatever, it's an erudite visual reference for a burglar alarm, although the design is otherwise pretty basic. • Spotted: Canal Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
"Gemeni Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • Finally, scraping the bottom of the zodiacal barrel, a very basic and mis-spelled Gemini alarm – unless I’m missing something, and it says Gemeni for good reason, eg it's written in Romanian. So we’ve had Gemini the twins not once, but twice – one boring, and one boring and dyslexic. Uncanny! That’s it for astrological alarms, just the four: Zodiac, Scorpio, Gemini and Gemeni. I have found no more, whereas there are scores of animals on burglar alarms, which share similar – if less mystical – iconography. As I pointed out in the Zodiac entry, that leaves a gap in the naming market. I hope someone takes it up – and remembers to illustrate it. • Spotted: Goswell Road, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Above: the constellation of Gemini visualised as twins holding hands (not the usual depiction, which is abstract – see yesterday), by the children's author H.A. Rey. Realistic!
"Gemini Security Systems" burglar alarm, Liverpool • Apart from the name, this is supremely boring – it could at least have included a picture of some twins. Astronomically, Gemini is one of the oldest-named constellations, dating far back into the Bronze Age and called "The Great Twins" by the Babylonians. To the Greeks they were the talented horsemen Castor and Pollux, who despite being twin brothers had different dads, meaning only Pollux was immortal; when Castor died, Zeus allowed him to share Pollux's immortality, bonding them together in heaven as the constellation the Romans called Gemini. Astrologically, it's the versatile third sign of the zodiac, ruled by fleet-footed messenger god Mercury. Gemini types are meant to be lively, inquisitive, communicative, inconsistent, and a bit unreliable – not all of which are useful traits for security firms. My theory for why Gemini is one of the few signs represented on burglar alarms, and a popular business name in general, is that Geminis are inordinately proud of their dual-natured and slightly annoying star sign characteristics. And, to prove my point, there will be another one along tomorrow... • Spotted: Town centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside Above: the not-very-twinlike constellation of Gemini as it is usually depicted, from the digital sky images at www.allthesky.com.
"Scorpio Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • In my entry on the weird Pac-Man-esque Orion alarm, I explained how the giant hunter was killed by a scorpion and turned into a constellation by Zeus. And now we come to the unfortunate arthropod which stung him, also flung into the heavens by Zeus, where it became the constellation of Scorpius, eternally snapping at Orion's heels. Astrologically, it represents the mysterious eighth sign of the zodiac, ruled by the Greek god Pluto – aka Hades, lord of the underworld – and reputedly the most powerful star sign. Scorpios are supposed to be intense, secretive, power-loving, cunning, unforgiving, vengeful and, as the alarm probably wants to suggest, with a considerable sting in their tail. This strange logo, like a J with horns, could almost be the symbol for some obscure occult sect – thus living up to Scorpio’s sinister image. • Spotted: Hackney area, Hackney, London, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch Above: A nice 1825 etching of the constellation Scorpio from the Library of Congress, Washington DC.
"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...
"www.Classic-Security.com" burglar alarm, Camden • How perfect is this? Such a witty match between burglar alarm and business can be no coincidence. Not only does Classic Security's name allude to the shop it protects, which specialises in ancient Greek-style gifts, but the Parthenon logo that decorates it looks just like the portico of the grand building opposite: that neo-classical repository of Greek and Roman loot, The British Museum. Not quite mythology perhaps, but a nice summation of the subject. Tomorrow: the Zodiac (so more mythology, really). • Spotted: Bury Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras Above: It's All Greek (left), a gift shop in Bloomsbury, whose classical burglar alarm matches the building opposite (right) – The British Museum
"Eros Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • After a couple of sensible mythological burglar alarms, we're back to the bonkers ones. Eros? What on earth has Eros, Greek god of sexual love, got to do with security services? And anyway, this looks more like his boyish Roman counterpart Cupid, who was often portrayed as younger than the fully-formed teenage Eros. The resemblance to the Evening Standard's venerable logo makes me think this is a reference to the so-called Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus, that icon of tourist London. However, hard though it is to believe, what Wikipedia says about Alfred Gilbert's piece of high Victorian camp is true. I've double-checked, and the statue that stands surrounded by the horrible hurly burly of Piccadilly is not intended to be Eros, but his butterfly-winged twin brother Anteros, who was associated with selfless and requited love (although he sounds like a half-baked deity the Greeks made up to impress the Romans). For all its faults, this silly, cheeky alarm is one of my all-time favourites – so naughty Cupid has worked his mischievous magic. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Eros and his twin in London. Top left: "Eros Stringing His Bow", a Roman copy of a Greek statue at the British Museum. Top right: ''The Angel of Christian Charity'' aka "The Shaftesbury Memorial" (1893) by Alfred Gilbert at Picadilly Circus, colloquially known as the Eros statue, but actually depicting his selfless twin bro Anteros. Above: London's familiar Evening Standard "Eros" logo (recently dropped from their masthead), which depicts the Piccadilly Circus statue and is therefore actually Anteros.
"Aegis" burglar alarm, Camden • "Under the aegis of" is commonly understood to mean "under the protection of", so like yesterday's Argus, this is an unusually sensible mythological name for a security device. In ancient Greece the Aegis was a protective breastplate or cloak, originally a thundercloud invoked by Zeus, and later the skin of a divine goat worn by his warlike daughter Athena. Her exclusive over-the-top haute couture version was a golden snakeskin extravaganza, generally depicted as covered in scales and fringed with tinkling tassels or writhing serpents, all fastened with the severed head of Medusa, the scary snake-haired Gorgon. The idea of the magically protective Aegis caught on and spread to Egypt, Rome and beyond; and 2,500 years later the Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace made his fortune by taking the Medusa-and-snakeskin look to improbable extremes, though it didn't protect him from being murdered on his Florida doorstep in 1997. The Aegis can also take the form of a Medusa-faced shield, so the shape of this alarm is very apt, as well as showing that Aegis is under the aegis of Banham, whose proprietary sounder this is. It's somewhat let down by the obscure Aegis logo, which is like a red pyramid with a lighting bolt through it, possibly representing an A and an E. But surely a severed Gorgon's head would have been better? • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn Above: The Aegis as hot ancient fashion item. Left: The classic over-the-shoulder Aegis cloak as modelled by Athena in a Roman copy of a Greek statue, "Athena Cherchel-Ostia" (c.400 BC), from the Louvre, Paris. Above right: the Aegis worn in casual cross-body style on another Athena statue, "Athena Lemnia" from the Staatliche Museum, Dresden. Note the Gorgon Medusa's head, a popular decoration appropriated 2,500 years later by Gianni Versace. Below right: An Egyptian-style Aegis, on a Nubian bust of the goddess Isis (c.300 BC) from the British Museum, London.
"Argus Fire & Security Group" burglar alarm, Lewisham • If the reflected double "a" in this Argus logo is meant to look like two eyes, then it's 98 short of the legend. Argus is a popular name in Greek mythology, but being a security device, this is surely inspired by the super-watchman Argus Panoptes, an ever-wakeful hundred-eyed giant whose name means "Argus the All-Seeing". Argus was a servant of Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus – who, as king of the gods, had more nymphs on the side than a premiership footballer. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses (c.8 AD), the politically-incorrect Zeus disguised one unfortunate floozy, Io, as a cow, but suspicious Hera demanded the beast as a gift and set Argus to guard it. Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to rescue Io, which he managed by telling Argus such boring stories that all his eyes fell asleep at once (I know the feeling), and then beheading him. The giant may have perished, but his hundred eyes lived on in the tail of the peacock, where Hera put them to honour his memory. I haven't yet found a peacock pictured on a burglar alarm, but there are plenty decorated with eyes; though most, like that other watchful giant Cyclops, sport only one. As will be demonstrated in a later theme... • Spotted: Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London, SE13, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Lewisham Deptford Above: BC and AD versions of Hermes about to kill Argus and rescue the nymph Io, cunningly disguised as a heifer. Top: pictured millennia before burglar alarms, on an Attic vase (c.500 BC) from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna – love the way he's grabbing that beard. Bottom: as imagined more serenely over 1000 years later in Diego Velázquez's "Fábula de Mercurio y Argos" aka "The Story of Mercury and Argus" (1659), from the magnificent Prado, Madrid.
"Ariel Alarms" burglar alarm, City of London • I always thought Ariel was a version of wing-heeled Greco-Roman messenger god Mercury, whose alarm I featured yesterday. Which shows how little I know, becuse I now discover Ariel is a minor Judaeo-Christian archangel associated with health and the elements, whose name means "Lion of God". Winged angels seem to go back to the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism and beyond, and in all faiths that feature them they are messengers of god; so there's some connection with Mercury after all. The Jews are thought to have brought the archangels' names out of Babylon, though in Abrahamic faiths the wings were always recognised by scholars as merely symbolic, showing the superiority of angels to mortals. In English culture the name was popularised by Shakespeare, whose play The Tempest features a flying spirit punningly called Ariel (aerial, geddit?) bearing similarities to both angels and Mercury. Since then the name has been used for anything from biological washing powder to the BBC's in-house magazine, titled after Shakespeare's character and not the wire thing that receives radio signals, which is spelled aerial. Although it looks like a 1960s book cover, I think we can be fairly sure the alarm's not a tribute to the famous volume of poetry by suicidal American writer Sylvia Plath, who named the collection Ariel after her childhood horse, and successfully gassed herself shortly after completing it in 1963. Yet the Ariel alarm probably dates from the same decade, which means it's definitely not named after the ubiquitous font Arial, which apart from having different spelling, was designed in 1982. It took 10 people to create it – and the result is just like Helvetica! • Spotted: Middlesex Street, City of London, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster Above: Ariel, from religion to soap powder. Left: The archangel Ariel from a series the studio of Francisco de Zurbarán made in 1645-50 for the Monasterio de la Concepción, Lima, Peru – Ariel's a bigger deal in Latin America than in Europe. Above right: Shakespeare's Ariel in "Ariel between Wisdom and Gaiety", a 1930s sculpture by old perv Eric Gill on the facade of BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London W1. Below middle: Ariel in his guise as a pioneering biological washing powder from the 1960s. Below right: Also from the 1960s, Sylvia Plath's posthumously-published hit poetry collection "Ariel", a vintage cover from a recent writers' residency at Nottingham Contemporary gallery by Wayne Burrows.
"Mercury Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • This boring design gives no clue whether its name refers to the planet, the element, the crap Queen singer or the myth. Seeing as the myth came first, I shall include this alarm within the mythology section. Mercury was the Roman version of Hermes, messenger of the Greek gods, famed for his winged sandals and helmet, and a snake-entwined staff called a caduceus. The Romans equated him mainly with travel and commerce, and his image can be found adorning stations and shopping centres to this day. A notably slippery character, with traits which would have taken him far in diplomacy or journalism, Mercury combined patronage of noble things such as music, wit, sport and invention with a reputation for cunning and trickery. Which is perhaps how a god strongly associated with thieves and boundaries – described in an ancient Greek hymn as "a watcher by night, a thief at the gates" – has wangled his way onto a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Above: Mercury in Manhattan, still representing trade and travel today. Left: "Winged Mercury" (1933), a carving by Lee Lawrie on the ex-British Empire Building at the Rockerfeller Centre. Right: "Glory of Commerce" (1911-14) by Jules-Alexis Coutain, aka the famous Mercury clock at Grand Central Terminal. There's more about it on Which Yet Survive, a great but short-lived blog about New York statuary.
"Apollo Eagle" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This vintage sun-like yellow sounder is a great match for uber-deity Apollo, the powerful Greco-Roman god of the sun. Worshipped far and wide in the ancient world, Apollo was closely associated with light, music, medicine, poetry and much else, but wasn't linked with eagles until mere mortals headed for the moon (property of his sister, Artemis) a couple of millennia later. In 1961, NASA manager Abe Silverstein deliberately referenced the Greek god when he named the US space program Apollo; and on 20 July 1969 Apollo 11's lunar module Eagle finally deposited humans on the moon's surface, hence the immortal phrase "the Eagle has landed". Which may be the source of this space race-era alarm's name, though more prosaically, it's probably the result of a merger between two companies called Apollo and Eagle. • Spotted: The Oval, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Above: When Apollo met Eagle on the moon. Left: a Roman statue of Apollo (c.150 AD) from the Ny Carlsberg Glypotek, Copenhagen. Middle: Buzz Aldrin with moon lander Eagle on the lunar surface. Right: the Apollo 11 insignia, complete with moon-landing eagle.
"AFA Minerva EMI" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This is one of only three burglar alarms I've found featuring women, the others being Siren and Liberty. Minerva was the multi-talented pan-Italian goddess of poetry, medicine, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic and music, but primarily of wisdom. Only in Rome was she considered, like her Greek prototype Athena, a goddess of war – an idea the Roman Empire exported, hence her regular appearance sporting helmet and spear, and her suitability for burglar alarms. In Britain she was conflated with Bath's local deity Sulis, and the famous thermal baths there are dedicated to her. Britain also has Western Europe's only Athena shrine remaining in situ, an extremely worn structure carved into the side of a quarry near Chester. Mythology apart, I'm interested in the big red drum, which is also associated with Thorn, on whom I wrote a corporate history here. I know Thorn were absorbed by EMI, who clearly took over AFA Minerva too. But though I've seen vintage sounders saying simply AFA, I've never seen one saying AFA Minerva without the EMI at the bottom, or a standalone Minerva alarm. I'd be interested to know some more about the histories of AFA and Minerva – perhaps one of the burglar alarm fraternity can shed some light on this. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Images of Minerva – warlike, wise, and popular in Britain. Left: a no-nonsense, helmet-toting Minerva from the destroyed city of Herculanum, near Pompeii. Above right: head of Sulis Minerva found in 1727 in Bath, and now displayed at the Roman Baths there. Below right: Minerva's very worn-out shrine in Edgar's Field, Handbridge, near Chester.
"Orion Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This naive but multi-layered design recalls two mythical figures: Orion and Pac-Man. Ostensibly a monogram comprising an O and an A, it's probably meant to represent a pyramid in a circular night sky with a crescent moon overhead. Apart from the night sky, it's hard to see how this connects with the Greek hero Orion, a giant hunter blinded for raping a princess, healed by the sun, then killed by a scorpion and turned into a constellation by Zeus. There are few reliable descriptions of Orion, but we know he wasn't a big black blob. However, the design also looks disturbingly like a Pac-Man with a winking eye, chomping his way down the alarm. Developed in Japan in 1979 and originally called Pakkuman, it's fair to say that the genre-launching yellow-and-black ghost-munching video game has achieved legendary status. The name is based on paku-paku, Japanese slang for lip-smacking eating (equivalent to "nom-nom-nom"), and the fact that the avatar looks like a part-eaten pizza is no coincidence, because according to its inventor Tōru Iwatani, that's what it's based on. This is the second Pac-Man-like alarm I've featured: the first was JB-Eye, and no doubt the game was a formative entertainment for both designers. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Above: Orion v Pac-Man. Left: Orion and his constellation by astronomer Johannes Hevelius from his celestial catalogue "Uranographia" (1690). Right: fashionably geek Pac-Man t-shirt available from Worm Sign designs.
"Titan Alarms" burglar alarm, Cirencester • These days "titanic" suggests immense, but in Greek mythology the Titans were a primordial race of super-deities, children of the supreme earth goddess Gaia. There was a soap opera's worth of them, with second-gen Atlas being the best-known today, but most remaining rather obscure. This was a result of the decade-long War of the Titans, in which they were comprehensively overthrown – both physically and reputationally – by a bunch of younger gods, the Zeus-led Olympians. The huge Giants, also children of Gaia, rebelled against the Olympians but lost; and later tales mixed up Giants and Titans, leading to the word's current connotations of size and strength. So, given that they suffered total, humiliating defeat and never recovered, being protected by a Titan may not be as useful as it sounds. • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds Above: the Titans being overthrown in "Fall of the Titans" (c.1637-8) by Peter Paul Rubens from the Musée Royaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels.