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MFS, Coventry: Stasi

“MFS Midland Fire and Security Systems Alarm Systems” burglar alarm, Coventry • Bet you didn’t know MFS could stand for “Ministerium für Staatssicherheit”, aka East German security bastards the Stasi. […]
MFS, Coventry: Stasi

Wessex Fire & Security: updated

Wessex bellbox1_800 "Wessex Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Shaftesbury • I first featured the Wessex owl here, and it's one of my all-time favourites. The firm has just updated their identity, so I'm happy to report that they've kept the wise old bird: far more charming the fierce beasts popular in more urban areas, and an appealing contrast to the dull corporate-type bell box designs that seem to be proliferating. • Spotted: Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of North Dorset
Wessex Fire & Security: updated

Logic, Westminster: deduction

Logic Fire & Security "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
Logic, Westminster: deduction

Matrix, Aylesbury: waveforms

Matrix Fire & Security "Matrix Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Aylesbury • Now for a few sounders which demonstrate their techiness via the medium of waveforms, which here appear to emit from a worryingly low-tech megaphone. • Spotted: Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Aylesbury
Matrix, Aylesbury: waveforms

“Adept”, Bath: understated

Adept Fire & Security Systems Ltd "Adept Fire & Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Bath • This logo with its strange pink spot suggests only borderline excellence, as adept is such an odd, understated word: the thesaurus offers flowery synonyms like adroit, accomplished, and dextrous. But it's more fun playing "antonym alarms", so my non-excellent doppelganger would simply be called "Inept fire and security". Which might not catch on. • Spotted: Miles's Buildings, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Adept”, Bath: understated

“Contract Fire Security”, Westminster: extinguisher

Contract Fire Security "Contract Fire Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This is great - the letters CFS wrangled into a fire extinguisher monogram. I wish they'd made it bigger on the sounder, so I've put an enlargement below. I wonder if this is the same Contract Security I featured in the "Shooting" theme last week? It was certainly found in the same area, ie Fitzrovia. • Spotted: Newman Passage, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster Contract Fire Security
“Contract Fire Security”, Westminster: extinguisher

“Sector Guard”, Southwark: targeting

Sector Guard Fire & Security Systems "Sector Guard Fire & Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • A successor to yesterday's Sector Alarm, this still targets felons with crosshairs, albeit a smaller radar sweep. Inclusion of that ever-poular burglar alarm word, "Guard", is another nod in the direction of the military. • Spotted: Blackfriars Road, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Sector Guard”, Southwark: targeting

“Clydetec”, Glasgow: fired up

"Clydetec Alarms CCTV Door Entry" burglar alarm, Glasgow • I've heard of the Red Clyde, but representing it with a house in flames? Not doing wonders for Glasgow's image, surely. • Spotted: Lynedoch Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G3, Scotland, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central Above: the mighty Clyde at Glasgow
“Clydetec”, Glasgow: fired up

“Cherwell”, Oxford: apocalyptic

"Cherwell Fire and Security" burglar alarm, Oxford • I love this: a "W" made of fire, leaping apocalyptically from a pool of soundwaves. Pronounced "Churwell", the Cherwell is one of Oxford's two famous rivers, and also lends its name to a venerable student newspaper (these days, a website). The other famous river? That's tomorrow. • Spotted: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East Above: punt rollers (to help foppish punters avoid the weir) on the Cherwell at Oxford
“Cherwell”, Oxford: apocalyptic

Ghost under “GC”, Chelsea: comeuppance

Ghost under "GC Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • And now mighty Chubb gets its comeuppance, with just two measly corners peeking out from beneath a somewhat less venerable brand (albeit one boasting soundwaves – always a good point). • Spotted: Beauchamp Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
Ghost under “GC”, Chelsea: comeuppance

“Scotshield”, Glasgow: patriotic

"Scotshield Fire & Security Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • You'd never get a firm called Engshield, would you? Britshield, maybe. But there's no doubt where this one's from. In fact, it's so patriotic it was found on the Rangers football stadium at Ibrox Park (see photo below). You know, the really famous Glasgow football club who went broke and are now relegated to the Irn-Bru Third Division – there's a pic of the ground here. So who knows whether they'll be able to maintain their security contract. • Spotted: Edmiston Drive, Ibrox, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G51, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow South West
“Scotshield”, Glasgow: patriotic

“InTech Fire & Security”, Tower Hamlets: good omen

"InTech Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Judging by yesterday's alarm, the tick trope is starting to look like an omen for longevity. Here's another family firm still apparently going strong after 25 years, though according to the Essex outfit's inextensive website it looks like they've dropped the lively tick. Without its promise of "rightness",  all that's left is a connotation of techiness, though I guess InTech may also be a play on In Touch, which I always thought was a Radio 4 programme for the visually impaired (it's quite good actually). • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“InTech Fire & Security”, Tower Hamlets: good omen

“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

“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

“Imperial Fire & Security”, Bristol: dark ruler

"Imperial Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is almost the same as yesterday's Imperial, but I include it because it's the first time I've come across a bell box in alternate colourways, and also black is quite unusual. Despite its corporate blandness this logo is obviously a professional design job, and was clearly thought through: the black sounder looks smart and groovy, but you'd want a white one on light-coloured walls (as long as it was cleaner than yesterday's example). • Spotted: Wapping Wharf, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Imperial Fire & Security”, Bristol: dark ruler

“Imperial Fire & Security”, Bristol: royal connections

"Imperial Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • According to its website, Imperial was founded in 1997 and is based in Bristol – which seems to have an unfeasably large number of local security firms. There's nothing about the look of this that suggests royalty, unless the blue ribbon has some regal significace that escapes me. But there's no doubt that the emperor-related word "imperial" fits within this week's regal theme, as does the serendipitous Queen's Road location. • Spotted: Queen's Road, Bristol, Avon, BS8, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Imperial Fire & Security”, Bristol: royal connections

“Sovereign Fire & Security”, Bristol: apposite address

"Sovereign Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • A much more recent bell box from yesterday's Sovereign Security, found in the appropriate surrounds of Queen Square. It's similar to the "middle period" Sovereign I published many months ago here, except with an F instead of an S in the circle, and the addition of "Fire" to the name – a trend that seems to have been creeping in with other firms too. Rather tragically, I photographed this on New Years Day, which makes it my first-ever alarm from 2012. I really should have better things to do with my time. • Spotted: Queen Square, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Sovereign Fire & Security”, Bristol: apposite address

“Monarch”, East Grinstead: bring on the crowns

"Monarch Security & Fire" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Well, amazingly I've managed to keep this blog going for a whole year, and after posting north of 365 different burglar alarms I still have a vast amount yet to feature (don't all cheer at once). So, seeing as it's a leap year, here's to the next 366 alarms. But I do actually have a bit of a life too (just a bit), so from today I've changed the format slightly in order that I don't always have to write so much about each one. I'll still be posting in series of themes, as taxonomy was always the point of this blog, and I'll introduce each theme as before. But, if I haven't got anything to much say about a particular alarm – other than that it fits within the genre – then I'll keep it very brief. I would still appreciate comments however, and will be reading them all avidly and answering where appropriate as I do now. Following on from yesterday's vintage Royale, the first theme of 2012 is "Royalty" – which, as well as being appropriate for this jubilee year, is one of the security world's most enduringly popular tropes, preferably accompanied, as here, by a hefty old crown. Oh, and notice the aptly regal address – not the last I'll feature, as royal British road names aren't exactly rare. • Spotted: Queens Walk, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid 
“Monarch”, East Grinstead: bring on the crowns

“Ape Fire & Security”, Bristol: watchful simians

"Ape Fire & Security" burglar alarms, Bristol • I've already commented on the oddness of APE's logo, and still don't know what the unfortunate acronym stands for. Anyway, here's a pair of watchful simians hanging from yet another graceful Bristol building – the locals don't seem to have much to do except sling random sounders up all over their beautiful and historic city, which makes it a great hunting ground for me. • Spotted: St Nicholas Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Ape Fire & Security”, Bristol: watchful simians

“TecServ UK”, Nottingham: Freudian epic

"TecServ UK" burglar alarm, Nottingham • Dull though it may appear to the untrained eye, to the expert burglar alarm analyst this small device is a Daily Mail-esque Freudian epic. Clad in royal blue and English mustard with a modern yet understated font, it mixes trendy with traditional in a riot of symbolism: a padlock within a passionately flaming eye, a name suggesting service, technical prowess and patriotic values, and a sub-offer of fieriness and security. Surely the very model of a Femail reader's fantasy burglar alarm engineer – a Heathcliff of the sounder, a Mr Darcy of the bell box. Or perhaps I'm reading too much into it. • Spotted: Friar Lane, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Nottingham South
“TecServ UK”, Nottingham: Freudian epic

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

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

“APE”, Bristol: hairy hominid plus cheeky fly

"APE Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Starting today: a bonkers burglar alarm bestiary. Animals are one of the most popular themes for security firms' logos, and they're not always fierce, with at least 50 per cent ranging from from cuddly to crazy. I'll be posting, in alphabetical order, all the creatures I've found so far, excluding birds and dogs, which are so numerous they get their own categories. Thus I start with Ape (plus cheeky house fly), which combines several top security tropes in one minimalistic design: soundwaves, naive monogram, unexplained acronym, and an unfortunate connotation, as presumably it's not really meant to suggest a large hairy hominid. Given the soundwaves I'd guess it stands for something techy like Audio Protection Enterprises, and the pre-dtp logo suggests it's a long-standing firm. (Googles Ape Fire & Security). Yes, this firm is the first thing that turns up, established 1977 and still going strong with an up-to-date website. But as to what Ape – or as their blurb has it, A.P.E. – stands for, there is no mention.• Spotted: St Nicholas Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West Above: a real ape (Photo by Matthias Trautsch)
“APE”, Bristol: hairy hominid plus cheeky fly

“Argus”, Lewisham: a hundred-eyed giant

"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.
“Argus”, Lewisham: a hundred-eyed giant

“Cannon” and “BAC”, Bristol: changing faces

"Cannon Bristol" and "BAC Fire and Security" burglar alarms, Bristol • A Cannon alarm surreally framed by two laurel-wreathed romanesque heads on a typically splendid Bristol building, which was pretty grimy when I first came across it in 2006 (top pic). I went back recently to see how it had fared, and discovered a spruced-up facade, and a change of alarm (middle pic) – in pictorial terms, I preferred the old Cannon. The building itself (bottom) is magnificent and strange, and features another pair of heads on the right, depicting a veiled woman and a wild-bearded man. The building's current occupier, a hairdresser, is appropriate to the heads, but I'd love to know who it was built for: some Victorian business with links in Araby, presumably. • Spotted: St Nicholas Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2006 and 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Cannon” and “BAC”, Bristol: changing faces

“Kingfisher Fire and Security”, Southwark: realism

"Kingfisher Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • This is a more recent version of yesterday's burglar alarm. I don't feature two alarms by the same firm unless they're different enough to make an interesting comparison, and these two show the march of design and technology progress: from yesterday's monochrome silhouette on a rectangular box to today's photorealistic plumage on a jewel-shaped one. Despite a slight name change they've managed to keep continuity by retaining the same typography and ensuring the bird has the same pose – although now it's printed in full glowing colour, we can see that by choosing a back view, the designer has lost the kingfisher's most distinctive feature, its bright orange breast. • Spotted: Old Jamaica Road, Southwark, London, SE16, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Kingfisher Fire and Security”, Southwark: realism

“Detect Fire and Security”, Bournemouth: sundowner

Detect Fire and Security burglar alarm Bournemouth 2010"Detect Fire and Security" burglar alarm, Bournemouth • Even the apricot glow of an autumnal seaside sunset can't rescue this detective-themed alarm from the depths of dullness. I have a very large set of burglar alarms labelled "boring", and this is firmly in it. Its tedium prompts me to enter lecture mode: note how the rounded neo-humanist font and smooth DTP drop shadow date its design to the late 1990s or beyond, which shows how telling just a few small design details can be. • Spotted: Pier area, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Bournemouth West Detect Fire and Security burglar alarm Bournemouth 2010
“Detect Fire and Security”, Bournemouth: sundowner

“Detecta Link”, Lowestoft: Detecta Dull

Detecta Link burglar alarm, Lowestoft, 2007"Detecta Link Fire & Security Systems" burglar alarm • To catch a thief requires detection, and detection is by its very nature painstaking and procedural, but do alarms featuring a detection theme have to be so dull? The answer, it seems, is yes: and this snorey object is one of the more interesting ones, because at least it's a bit 1970s, and features sound waves. (In general, concentric circles or arcs seem to represent sound, rather than light.) There are duller to come. • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney Detecta Link burglar alarm, Lowestoft, 2007
“Detecta Link”, Lowestoft: Detecta Dull