“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 […]
“Abel Alarm” burglar alarm, Hackney • Abel to be bashed in, ha ha. • Spotted: Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney […]
“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 […]
“Abel” burglar alarm, York • Bit of a cheat, because this is just a triangular label. And it’s not even that triangular. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 […]
"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
"Aaron Hi-Tech" burglar alarm, Bristol • Sadly well past its hi-tech days – there are a couple more here. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Abel" burglar alarm, Falmouth • OK, so it says Abel not Able – but Abel's founder, quoted here, says the name was intended to suggest the company was "able" (among many other things) – therefore qualifying for the category of excellence. Anyway, I like the Eurobell sounder; and I found it in the Cornish town of Falmouth, which is excellent in itself. • Spotted: Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Truro and Falmouth
"Tamar Security" burglar alarm, Exeter • Ah, the eternally gridlocked Tamar Bridge, slender link across he Tamar between Devon and Cornwall. It's not named after the Jewish temptress of Biblical legend (more's the pity), but an ancient British word meaning something like "dark flowing", as is the Thames. • Spotted: Town centre, Exeter, Devon, EX1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Exeter Above: the real Tamar Bridge
"Abel" burglar alarm, Islington • A lot of pioneering British alarm companies were swallowed up by multinationals in the 1980s, but veteran firm Abel – like Banham, featured yesterday – endure. They were formed in 1965, and according to their website are now the UK's largest privately owned providers of electronic security systems. They certainly update their boxes regularly – compare and contrast the old red effort featured here with their current look, above. Utterly proprietary, it's a slim silver metal square with a die-cut logo that's illuminated from within, as shown glowing at dusk below. Slick! • Spotted: Upper Street, Islington, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
"Aaron Hi-Tec" burglar alarm, Bristol • To kick off the retro-futurist theme, here's an LED font that's obviously meant to look high tech (after all, it says so in the name), but is now definitely vieux chapeau. I've recently featured an oval Aaron sounder, but this one's much older, and its decay adds still further to the retro-futurist poignancy. To be fair, the style of Aaron's LED text is a bit more modern than the seven-segment display on yesterday's Monarch, and you still see this kind of scrolling display on everything from bus stops to billboards. It's just not very high tech, that's all. • Spotted: Jubilee Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Aaron Hi-Tech" burglar alarm, Bristol • Although not much feted in western Christianity, Aaron – Moses' elder brother and the first high priest of the Israelites – is a big player in Judaism and Islam, and a major saint across the lands of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He's a popular subject in gorgeous Russian icons, but in western art is rarely depicted, with the lone pinnacle being Pier Francesco Mola’s recently discovered “Aaron, Holy to the Lord” (below), painted around 1650. The magnificent old master shows a severe-faced Aaron carrying out his sacred duties on Yom Kippur, aided by nothing more hi-tech than a silver censer and a big hat – suggesting this alarm suffers from an extreme misnomer. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West Above: Aaron, east and west. Left: an 18th-century icon from Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia. Right: Pier Francesco Mola's superb painting, "Aaron, Holy to the Lord", c.1650.
"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
"Genesis Integrated Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • This is possibly named after the horrible band (it could be an above shot of one of Peter Gabriel's early hairstyles), but I shall assume it's a reference to the first book of the Bible and the origin of the world. All that plus integrated systems too! While researching the Genesis singer's "reverse mohawk" (below), I came across brilliant medieval illustration showing the first day as essentially the view from an aeroplane window (also below). Or perhaps a giant celestial laundromat. • Spotted: Southampton Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras Above: Peter Gabriel's early Genesis "reverse mohawk" barnet, and a laundromat-style first day of creation as depicted in the Nuremburg Chronicle of 1493
"CamWatch" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Ah, the modern world – up until now eyes have been watching from the vision-themed burglar alarms, but today it's a camera. However, there may be observation from a higher power still, for this is situated on Sheffield's Old Synagogue, a striking Victorian Gothic building rearing up from a narrow side-street near the cathedral. My photo of the frontage (below) doesn't really do it justice; it's carved with Hebrew inscriptions and topped with a stone pomegranate, whose 613 seeds represent the number of laws in the first five books of the Bible. By the 1950s it had become a warehouse for the woollen trade and later a hairdressing supplier, and is now restored as office space. There's a bit more info about its warehouse days half way down this rambling discussion thread, and an article on Sheffield's symbolically carved buildings – including the pomegranate – here. • Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
"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.