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Red

Ivory, Merton, 2010

“Ivory” burglar alarm, Merton • Not only precious but endangered. There’s a newer Ivory with an actual elephant on it here. • Spotted: Merton Road, Merton, London, SW19, England, 2010 […]
Ivory, Merton, 2010

AAI, Westminster

AAI "AAI" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Another triangular A-based monogram, specially designed to fill the whole delta. I hope Andy from AAI, a regular contributor to this blog, will forgive me for showing a somewhat vintage example; there's a newer version here• Spotted: Margaret Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
AAI, Westminster

Ades Burglar Alarm, Bristol: red moons

Ades Burglar Alarm "Ades Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Bristol • I really like this weird old 1970s disco-style logo I found in Bristol, home of one squillion burglar alarm firms. It's probably meant to be soundwaves emanating from a bell, but looks more like a lot of crescent moons surrounding a planet, so I'm including it in the astronomy category too. The colour of the box may be significant: Ades is an unusual surname thought to derive from the Hebrew for "red". • Spotted: Gloucester Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Ades Burglar Alarm, Bristol: red moons

Titan, Oxford: resonant

Titan "Titan" burglar alarm, Oxford • Giant Greek god aka the largest moon of Saturn – a nice resonant burglar alarm name for the profs of Oxford. • Spotted: Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
Titan, Oxford: resonant

Telecom Security Direct, Camden: striking

Telecom Security Direct "Telecom Security Direct" burglar alarm, Camden • Now we move from tronics to telecoms, also quite a popular technical trope. The word Telecom gets bandied about quite a bit, so not sure if this striking old sounder is the same firm as the later Telecom box featured here• Spotted: Flask Walk, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
Telecom Security Direct, Camden: striking

GSS, Lambeth: extended

GSS Grays "GSS Grays" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I like the way the extended sci-fi-style type of this unexplained  SS-themed acronym fills the whole sounder. Grays Security Systems, perhaps? • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
GSS, Lambeth: extended

AES, Lambeth: rocket

AES "AES" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Kind of a triangular stack going on here, like a rocket of initials with a blast of phone numbers beneath. Fanciful, moi? • Spotted: Secker Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
AES, Lambeth: rocket

“A1”, Westminster: alphabetical

A1 Security Systems "A1 Security Systems" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Nice Eurobell suggesting a Roman road, something very good, and an ambition to come first in alphabetical lists... • Spotted: Great Titchfield Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“A1”, Westminster: alphabetical

“Alert”, Margate: awakenings

Alert Security "Alert Security" burglar alarm, Margate • Alert reads as both an adjective and a verb: boasting that the excellent security is awake (as one would hope), but also promising to alert security (and awaken all the neighbours too) in case of felony. It's not exactly Shakespeare, but it is quite clever. • Spotted: Fort Hill, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Alert”, Margate: awakenings

“Lingfield Alarm Supplies”, East Grinstead: local

Lingfield Alarm Supplies Co Ltd "Lingfield Alarm Supplies Co Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • An attractive building-block monogram for what sounds like a small local company, yet I also found an ancient LAS sounder in Bath once - which is rather a long way from Lingfield on the sleepy Surrey border. Maybe it's one of those DIY jobbies. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Lingfield Alarm Supplies”, East Grinstead: local

“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

GAF Alarms "GAF Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • One of my favourites, both for its awkward yet traditional 1920s-style monogram, and the fact that GAF is a sort-of pun on house, though I'm not sure if that's intended.• Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

“AAI”, Camden: red triangle

AAI "AAI" burglar alarm, Camden • Today I start the theme "monograms". The UK definition of a monogram is "a design composed of one or more letters, typically the initials of a name" (though in America I think it is defined as at least two letters); and the initials should be specially-drawn, generally entwined in some way. There are so many monogrammed sounders I can't show them all in one run - it would go on for months - so I've decided to start with nine of my favourites, taking us up to the end of the year. Honourary pole position must go to Hertfordshire-based AAI, whose boss Andy Gilmore is a regular commenter on this blog. I always reckoned the AAI monogram had been designed to fill up as much of the sounder as possible, which he confirms: "Our logo was designed by my [business] partner's daughter-in-law, who was studying art. When designing the logo, we wanted something which was clear and obvious even from a distance." Apparently it was inspired by the Nu-Tron design, another of my favourites, and AAI base all their company's branding round their logo's triangle – never changing the shape of the bell box, even when switching manufacturer. And though AAI, like most monograms, also falls into the "unexplained acronym" camp, Andy Gilmore confides that the initials were based on Andy, Adam, Ian - the latter pair his first (brief) business partners, when he was just 14. What a great story! • Spotted: Percy Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“AAI”, Camden: red triangle

“Severn Telford”, Ironbridge: industrial

"Severn Telford" burglar alarm, Ironbridge • Found on the River Severn near Telford, so does what it says on the can. Probably dates back to the Industrial Revolution, which started at the spot I found it – Ironbridge Gorge. Oh, and the Severn is Britain's longest river, don't you know. • Spotted: Tontine Hill, Ironbridge, Shropshire, TF8, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Telford Above: the River Severn at Ironbridge Gorge, near Telford
“Severn Telford”, Ironbridge: industrial

“HSS Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: yeoman

"HSS Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • HSS used to be based in Harlow, so I reckon HSS stands for Harlow Security Systems. Aptly for a sounder located in Tower Hamlets, it pictures a Beefeater - aka a Yeoman of the Guard, which is apparently an incorrect term for Yeoman Warder, ie a geezer who ceremonially "guards" the Tower of London. That looks like a vicious weapon he's carrying, but in fact it's just a decorative staff. Tomorrow however, the theme is indeed weapons. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“HSS Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: yeoman

“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

"SOS Security Group" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Although I have a category called "1970s disco", that's for 1970s-looking typography. Whereas this old sounder shares a name with an actual 1970s disco group, The SOS Band – famed mainly for the classic "Just Be good to Me" (which is actually from the early 1980s). • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall SOS Band. That's an SOS for the hair police.
“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

"Metropolitan Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • OK, a slight cheat – the firm's called Metropolitan, but their logo's a giant M, synonymous with groovy new wave synth-popsters M, whose "Pop Muzic" was a massive cross-pond hit in 1979. By dint of its full name, the sounder gets filed under "Religion" too, as a Metropolitan is a type of bishop, especially important in Slavic and Greek Orthodox churches. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury M of Pop Muzik fame
“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

“Alarm Shop II”, Islington: where’s Shop 1?

"Alarm Shop II" burglar alarm, Islington • Now a very brief run of alarms named after shops. Not famous shops, like M&S or Tesco – just generic shops, as in Shop. This disco-tastic logo actually says Shop II, which is quite odd – I'm presuming it's pronounced Shop Two, as in Elizabeth Two, rather than Shop Eleven, as in a football team. But I've never found a Shop I. • Spotted: Packington Street, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Alarm Shop II”, Islington: where’s Shop 1?

“Wright Security”, Lewisham: lion rampant

"Wright Security" burglar alarm, Lewisham • This heraldic lion is similar to yesterday's, only facing the other way, and punching rather than slashing with its paw. Known as a "lion rampant", it's a venerable heraldic device that has been used to represent England since Norman times – though because of the colour scheme, this looks more Scottish to me. • Spotted: Deptford Bridge, Lewisham, London, SE8, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Lewisham Deptford
“Wright Security”, Lewisham: lion rampant

“Sentry”, Newham: no comment

"Sentry" burglar alarm, Newham • So, you get the picture – I'm going to feature every single alarm I have with a shield on it, without much in the way of intelligent comment. That's because I've got a lot of shield alarms, but not much to say about them. • Spotted: Canal path nr Blaker Road, Newham, London, E15, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Sentry”, Newham: no comment

“Shield Security System”, Hackney: crumpled

"Shield Security System" burglar alarm, Hackney • And still the crumpled old Shields keep on coming. This is a nice old vintage design, quite a few of which are still around. Maybe someone can tell me if this is the same company as the last two yellow Shields• Spotted: Kingsland Road, Hackney, London, E2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Shield Security System”, Hackney: crumpled

“August Alarms”, Islington: venerable month

"August Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • Is that August the eighth month of the Gregorian calendar, or August to rhyme with disgust – meaning venerable? Either way it doesn't matter, because you're not getting past the mammoth portcullis. Or maybe it's an upside-down picket fence. • Spotted: Evershot Road, Islington, London, N4, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“August Alarms”, Islington: venerable month

“Aztec Solutions”, Bristol: surely a Roman?

"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
“Aztec Solutions”, Bristol: surely a Roman?

“Citadel”, Southwark: ghostly guardian

"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
“Citadel”, Southwark: ghostly guardian

“Crusader Security (UK) Ltd”, Greenwich: fancy shield

"Crusader Security (UK) Ltd" burglar alarm, Greenwich • Crusaders are slightly at a tangent from knights, as not all crusaders were noble horsemen – the crusades were like a travelling township, with vast crowds of commoners and even women and children tagging along. However, lots of knights were crusaders, and as bloke's got a fancy shield, I'll assume he's one of them. • Spotted: Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London, SE10, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Greenwich and Woolwich
“Crusader Security (UK) Ltd”, Greenwich: fancy shield

“Duchy”, Cornwall: property of Prince Charles

"Duchy Alarms" burglar alarm, Cornwall  • Today starts the theme of "bigwigs", by which I mean the aristocracy and the political establishment, the so-called "great and the good" – subjects ever-popular on burglar alarms. We start with a Duchy, property of a monarch or duke (the next rung down from monarchy), so it's the biggest wig I've featured since the royalty theme, assuming we leave the higher powers of religion out of it. This alarm refers to the Duchy of Cornwall, that bit of the county that belongs to the Prince of Wales, and has done since 1337 (not the same Prince, of course). Apparently, when people in Cornwall die without wills, their estate goes not to help suffering children or even homeless cats, but to the Duchy. I wonder if Prince Charles owns this burglar alarm? • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Duchy”, Cornwall: property of Prince Charles

“Thorn”, Lambeth: white spike

"Thorn" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Speaking of thorns, as I was yesterday, here's the real thing – a red rose of a sounder sporting the modernist white spike of Thorn electronics. It's one of several variations on the red drum that have existed over the years, in this case notable for not mentioning either Minerva or EMI – see the comment here for the most comprehensive round-up so far. • Spotted: Hatfields, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Thorn”, Lambeth: white spike

“Chevron Alarms”, Windsor: arrows over arrows

"Chevron Alarms Protects" burglar alarm, Windsor • Finally, to end this "arrow" theme, what purports to be a chevron, but to my mind also passes as a double arrow, certainly in the typographical sense. And if you check out the wall I found it on (below), you'll see there's an architectural arrow directly above it. This is the last arrow for now: tomorrow, the rather less warlike theme of botanical sounders. • Spotted: St Leonards Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Windsor [caption id="attachment_11144" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Hey, there's an arrow above the arrow!"][/caption]
“Chevron Alarms”, Windsor: arrows over arrows

“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos

"Hoffman Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I've already featured a white Hoffman box here, when I compared its arrow logo to the Dad's Army credits. But the symbol also has more ancient origins: the central four-armed cross is a heraldic mark called the cross barbee, also known as the arrow cross, denoting movement in all directions. In the 1930s it was adopted by the Hungarian fascists, and has since become associated with extremist right wing groups such as the American Nationalist movement. The logo bears an even stronger resemblance to the eight-pointed "Symbol of Chaos" (definitely not something needed on a burglar alarm), a design first doodled  the early 1960s by the writer Michael Moorcock in for his Elric of Melniboné stories and later taken up by role playing games, comic books, heavy metal groups and the like. All connotations which were totally unknown to Hoffman, I'm sure, who in fact based this logo on the joystick controls of a CCTV system. • Spotted: Brixton Road, Lambeth, London SW9, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood [caption id="attachment_11252" align="alignnone" width="472"] Left, the cross barbee or arrow cross; right, the "symbol of chaos"[/caption]
“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos

“Crown”, City of Westminster: top tropes

"Crown" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • To me, the fact that a pointy metal hat can represent ultimate power is a troubling reminder of the sheer randomness of human society, but it's not a philosophical point that unduly taxes burglar alarm proprietors, who flock to its received symbolism in droves. This crudely-printed example is a real winner: a crown that looks like it came in a cracker, over a black-letter font bearing the twin tropes of Merrie England and its evil World War II enemies the Nazis, both big-hitting themes in burglar alarm world (which bears more than a passing resemblance to life as portrayed on the History Channel). • Spotted: Strutton Ground, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Crown”, City of Westminster: top tropes

“AFA”, Chelsea: ancient takeover?

"AFA Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • This AFA alarm has the same phone number – CHA 2888 – as yesterday's Auto Call, and was found on the same bit of posh Chelsea wall, just round the corner from Harrods. Although like most AFA boxes it hasn't worn well, the design looks more recent than Auto Call's, so I assume AFA took them over. There's a really interesting comments thread about the company's long history below this AFA alarm, but it doesn't mention Auto Call, so if anyone knows more I'd be interested to hear it. • Spotted: Beauchamp Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
“AFA”, Chelsea: ancient takeover?

“Abel”, East Grinstead: biblical victim

"Abel Alarm" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • According to the Bible, Abel was the world's first murder victim, being the son of Adam and Eve who was slain by his brother Cain. This firm's memorable name is definitely a reference to the event, as recorded in this article I came across by an Abel employee. In it, the company's boss Peter Eyre explains that when he launched the firm in 1965, he wanted a name that would sit atop all alphabetical lists. "So obviously I was looking at AA," he is quoted as saying, "but that had already gone! Therefore, I picked up the Oxford Dictionary and came across Abel – who was the slayer of Cain. I thought that it was good to have a religious connection. In addition, the name Abel is at the top of the list…A followed by B. It infers and sounds like an alarm bell – A Bell! To sum up we as a company are very able…so that was it, I got it registered." So the name is Abel, able, alphabetical and a bell – which is all very clever, but maybe the interview was wrongly transcribed, because Abel didn't kill Cain, he was killed by him, becoming an eternal symbol of martyrdom. Whatever, my favourite placing of this biblical classic is above a door in Church Walk, shown below. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid Above: an old example of the biblical alarm aptly placed in Church Walk, Rugby
“Abel”, East Grinstead: biblical victim

“Pearl Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: faded attraction

"Pearl Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • What a beautiful old alarm, its evocative name recalling the faded fairground attractions of its home towns of Canvey and Southend, and matching perfectly the seaside-blue wall and decaying Dream Land awning. I've been parking beneath this sounder for years, as it's usually the nearest free spot to the Whitechapel Gallery, yet I never noticed it till the other week. The building's gaudy paint job is quite recent, so maybe that's what finally made it stand out. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Pearl Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: faded attraction

“Eagle”, Birchington-on-Sea: clumsy king

"Eagle" burglar alarm, Birchington-on-Sea • The eagle has been seen as king of the birds and a messenger of the gods since ancient times (although there's a bit of a crossover with falcons), and an Apollo Eagle has already featured in the mythology section. This design has an evocative 1960s feel, apt for sleepy Birchington-on-Sea, though the clumsily-drawn eagle looks less like a lord of the air than a delivery owl fresh from Hogwarts. I've also found a version that includes the word "Canterbury", so perhaps that's where it actually comes from. • Spotted: Town centre, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, CT7, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Eagle”, Birchington-on-Sea: clumsy king

“AFA”, Birmingham: poo-brown paint

"AFA Security Systems" burglar alarm, Birmingham • A mournful corner of one of Birmingham's many surviving brutalist quarters, housing a poor old AFA alarm that's not only rusty, but effaced with poo-brown paint. Hardly worth protecting with pigeon spikes you'd think, but there they are in all their grimy glory, adding yet another layer of dolour to the scene. • Spotted: Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood
“AFA”, Birmingham: poo-brown paint

“Peter Weare Ltd”, Dorking: new town verbiage

"Peter Weare Ltd" burglar alarm, Dorking • This is the most wordy alarm in my collection, stopping just short of giving the engineer's shoe size. Slotted within the essay is a key, and even that contains verbiage, with a "W" decorating the handle. The key itself is of the grand medieval type associated with castles and cathedrals – in poignant contrast to its distinctly humdrum place of origin, the unlovely post-war "new town" of Crawley. That's not to say Crawley is without interest: there's someone posting as ~notes and also *notes on Flickr who takes fascinating architectural photos of the area, including old burglar alarms such as Protectall• Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“Peter Weare Ltd”, Dorking: new town verbiage

“Hurleys Security”, Herne Bay: antarctic beach hut

"Hurleys Security" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • A seasidey logo for a seaside town, with jaunty 1950s-style lettering and what appears to be a beach hut in the key's handle. Some people may think of starlet Elizabeth Hurley when they see this logo, and some may wonder where the apostrophe has gone. I however am reminded of Frank Hurley, the brilliant Australian cinematographer who accompanied Ernest Shackleton's catastrophic 1914 expedition to the South Pole (although after a heroic journey Shackleton, unlike Captain Scott, brought all his men back alive). Hurley recorded all the stunning images of icy strife that help keep the legend alive today, and basically invented the Antarctic documentary – along the way being confined in various snow-bound shacks not unlike the one on the alarm. • Spotted: William Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Hurleys Security”, Herne Bay: antarctic beach hut

“Chiswick Security”, Hackney: hackneyed device

"Chiswick Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • Another key with an initial in its handle, though much cruder than yesterday's elegant example. The zig-zag notches on its blade suggest that, like the other keys featured so far, it is for opening a pin-tumbler cylinder lock, typical of house front doors. Inspired by 4,000-year-old wooden devices from ancient Egypt, the definitive cylinder lock was patented by Linus Yale Junior in 1861 and remains little changed to this day – a design even older than this alarm. • Spotted: Clifton Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Chiswick Security”, Hackney: hackneyed device

“SDT Securities”, Dorking: awkward acronym

"SDT Securities" burglar alarm, Dorking • Another alarm featuring a literal depiction of a key, this time with an awkward unexplained acronym squeezed in. I like the way the screw caps are popping off and casting their own little shadows – they look like tiny alien eyes. I featured a wide-angle shot of this device in the "Beautiful Decay" category – it's on a wire-swathed wall that's even more olde worlde than the alarm. But that's Dorking for you. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“SDT Securities”, Dorking: awkward acronym