Skip to content

Hand

Challenger, Stratford-upon-Avon: shuttle

Challenger Security Products "Challenger Security Products" burglar alarm, Stratford-upon-Avon • Not just a thrusting heraldic glove, but NASA's second ill-fated space shuttle, which completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, killing all seven crew members. • Spotted: Birmingham Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Stratford-on-Avon
Challenger, Stratford-upon-Avon: shuttle

Morse, Camden: sleuthing

Morse Security "Morse Security" burglar alarm, Camden • A giant felon's fingerprint on a shiny light-up bell box – how great! The name suggests the sleuthing of Inspector Morse, but of course also evokes morse code - which is a kind of computing. So I stand by including it in my maths theme. • Spotted: Greville Street, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
Morse, Camden: sleuthing

“Bristol & West Security”, Bristol: criminal tattoo

"Bristol & West Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • The name looks and sounds as if it's a building society (the old fashioned non-hedge fund sort) – so maybe it was. Under Photoshop enhancement, the faded carbuncle above the name (below) resembles a Russian criminal tattoo. Phenomenally complex, it incorporates two unicorns, a massive old ship on a shield (shades of old Westward TV logo), crossed human arms clutching scales of justice and a snake (law v burglar v, geddit?), and the legend Quality in Service. They don't make 'em like that any more. • Spotted: Baldwin Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Bristol & West Security”, Bristol: criminal tattoo

“New Century Security”, Bristol: double whammy

"New Century Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is a double whammy: a shield-within-shield logo. And not just that, but a gauntlet clutching a lightning bolt, a rampant lion, a window at night (I think), a repetition of their name, and what looks like the European stars. There's even another version with "21st" above the title, just in case you thought the new century was the 18th. Talk about covering all the bases. • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“New Century Security”, Bristol: double whammy

“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

"Vaico International" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • These hands look like they're literally trying to put the world to rights on this sadly leaning sounder. There' a picture of a more recent Vaico sounder here – hands still tightly cupping their proud globe of internationalness – and the 1997-founded firm's official website is here, though it doesn't offer any explanation of the cryptic name. Globes are a very popular theme, and one I'll return to soon. These are the last disembodied hands for now: tomorrow, alarms relating to swiftness. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

"SP" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Poignantly faded in true seaside style, this shows a pair of sensitively-painted disembodied hands, in the manner of a Latin American devotional retablo, cupping the anonymous initials "SP" between them. It's an old alarm, and a minimal name to search on: there are quite a few SP security firms on various business directories, but I can't find one from southern England, so presumably these caring hands are defunct. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

"Amega Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • These severed, supplicating hands look like they're worshipping rays of light, or catching a shower, but actually they're cradling a faded letter A. It belongs to Oxford-based Amega, a 25-year-old firm whose more recent boxes, featuring the same design, can be seen here. I've also come across handless sounders bearing the very similar name Amiga – as in the legendary 1980s computer – but I assume that's a completely different company. • Spotted: Park End Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

"Shef-Guard" burglar alarm, Sheffield • More giant house-caring hands: this pair is either cradling a family home or crushing Noah's ark. The local geographical reference in the name is nice – suggesting it's specifically the citizens of Sheffield whom long-established Shef-Guard have been shielding for the last 25 years. • Spotted: Norfolk Row, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

“Ideal”, Westminster: mighty hand

"Ideal" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Now on to caring, sharing hands. This clever logo sums up the idea of protecting your abode most elegantly (unless you read it as a mighty giant smiting the house down) – and I always like the uber-positive term "ideal", conjuring up as it does the "ideal homes" of quaintly optimistic 1950s advertising. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few security outfits called Ideal; but the mighty smiting house-hand here leads me to the 30-year-old Southampton firm Ideal Fire & Security Ltd, whose website shows the same logo on their van. • Spotted: Tavistock Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Ideal”, Westminster: mighty hand

“Sensormatic”, Hackney: pilfering fingers

"Sensormatic" burglar alarm, Hackney • We've had a few threatening hands, and now here's a technical one. I'll give Sensormatic the benefit of the doubt, and assume that the crosshairs refer to some form of sensing equipment, rather than the ability to shoot pilferers through the hand. • Spotted: Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Sensormatic”, Hackney: pilfering fingers

“Holt Security Systems”, Lambeth: hand-house

"Holt Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This striking stylised hand looks like it's had the fingers chopped off in a nasty door-trapping incident, though it also recalls the shape of a house, and (coincidentally) the cute "grabber" icon that moves things around on Mac computers. The firm is presumably the long-established West Sussex family business whose website is here, though there's no matching logo on the site. I think we can safely assume it's not run by reggae legend John Holt, who sang my favourite anti-work song of all time, "Mr Big Boss" – you can hear it here. Totally off burglar alarm topic, but on my more usual subject of art, Holt also sang the sublime "Riding for a Fall", with which Tracey Emin soundtracked the eponymous film of herself trotting defiantly around Margate beach at sunset on a donkey. Sounds stupid, but the quavering fairground classic lent it considerable poignancy. So as well as having a messy bed, Emin's got great taste in music, despite including "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" in her Desert Island Discs. • Spotted: Secker Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall [caption id="attachment_11709" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Scenes from Tracey Emin's "Riding for a Fall", 1998 – basically the artist trotting around on Margate beach to the strains of John Holt's eponymous classic. Sadly there's not a copy of the video to be found on the internet, as artists are very hot on copyright."][/caption]
“Holt Security Systems”, Lambeth: hand-house

“Crimefighter”, Margate: long-lived fist

"Crimefighter Alarms" burglar alarm, Margate • I've already featured a vintage version of this ambiguous fist here, where I noted it was hard to guess if it represented a window-smashing felon or an avenging limb of the law. Either way it's nice to see the 1984-founded Kent firm still going strong with the same punchy logo, even if their sounders are always too inaccessible for me to take a good shot. Their website informs me they've now incorporated another of my favourite crime-related brands, Judge Alarms – I featured one here. • Spotted: Broad Street, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Crimefighter”, Margate: long-lived fist

“Challenger”, Brighton: strong-arm tactics

"Challenger Security Products" burglar alarm, Brighton • More heraldic gauntlet than hand, on a medieval coat of arms this striking fist would have symbolised strength, power, and loyalty. On a modern burglar alarm, it looks rather like the logo for a tiny authoritarian state – and seems to promise the strong-arm tactic of a punch somewhere sensitive. • Spotted: Arundel Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Challenger”, Brighton: strong-arm tactics

“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

"Arlescourt Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Severed hands are a popular image on burglar alarms, and quite apart from reminding thieves what appendage they might lose under sharia law, it's an ancient symbol with many connotations. The heraldic hand on this fine vintage sounder is grimly gripping a key in the manner of the Lady of the Lake brandishing Excalibur from her watery depths. It recalls the folkloric "Hand of Glory" – the dried and pickled mitt of a hanged felon, believed in medieval Europe to have the power to unlock any door it came across. There are grisly if contested examples in Whitby and Walsall museums, and a couple of mentions in Harry Potter. It's all most appropriate for a firm whose name sounds like something straight out of Camelot. • Spotted: New Oxford Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras [caption id="attachment_11694" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Hands of Glory: left, a medieval version, and right, Whitby Museum's example"][/caption]
“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

“Crimefighter”, Whitstable: “Shut it, you slaaaag!”

Crime Fighter burglar alarm, Whitstable, 2002“Crimefighter” burglar alarm, Whitstable • There's a nice 1970s feel to this, perhaps inspired by seminal TV cop show The Sweeney – though it’s not clear whether the fist represents a window-smashing felon, or a big fat punch from the long arm of the law. I prefer to think it's the latter, accompanied by Regan and Carter's immortal phrase: "Shut it, you slaaaaag!" • Spotted: Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Canterbury Crime Fighter burglar alarm, Whitstable, 2002
“Crimefighter”, Whitstable: “Shut it, you slaaaag!”