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Science

OTL, Hull, 2013

“OTL” burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Featuring what appears to be an atom on an oval trajectory round an unexplained acronym. The Large Hadron Collider it ain’t. • Spotted: […]
OTL, Hull, 2013

Quantum Security, Westminster: atomic

Quantum Security "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
Quantum Security, Westminster: atomic

Robot, Camden: serf

Robot "Robot" burglar alarm, Camden • And finally, the ultimate computer: a 1980s New Romantic-style robot. (I know I've included Robot before, but this is a slightly different logo.) Wikipedia pop fact: the word robota means literally "serf labour" in Czech. • Spotted: Well Walk, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
Robot, Camden: serf

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

Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Prism "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
Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Xtal, Merton: crystal

“Xtal” burglar alarm, Merton • Xtal is an abbreviation for crystal. There’s another Xtal alarm here. • Spotted: Merton Road, Merton, London, SW19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative […]
Xtal, Merton: crystal

“Xtal”, Wandsworth: deprecated electronica

"Xtal" burglar alarm, Wandsworth • XTAL – what a brilliant sci-fi-sounding acronym, albeit unexplained. London's 01 area code only lasted until 1990, so unless Xtal's proprietor was deeply into avant-garde 1980s electronica, it's unlikely the firm's name was inspired by the eponymous track on Aphex Twin's 1992 debut album Selected Ambient Works 85–92. It's more likely both names refer to a different genre of electronica, namely a type of crystal oscillator sometimes notated as XTAL on electrical schematic diagrams. The term is now as deprecated is this ancient "baton" sounder's phone number, and I fear the once Wimbledon-based firm may be redundant too, for despite there being plenty of recent-looking Xtal sounders lurking around London, their website is nowhere to be found. • Spotted: Battersea Park Road, Wandsworth, London, SW11, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Battersea
“Xtal”, Wandsworth: deprecated electronica

“Krypton”, Nottingham: noble gas

"Krypton Security" burglar alarm, Nottingham • Blimey – even Krypton can't keep the evil pigeons at bay! OK, I know it's Krypronite that can nobble Superman; Krypton, apart from being the fictional planet he came from, is in real life a rare but slightly dull "noble gas", shown bottled below. • Spotted: Forman Street, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Nottingham East Above: a vial of glowing ultrapure krypton (from Images of Elements)
“Krypton”, Nottingham: noble gas

“Mercury Security Systems”, Islington: god of thieves

"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.
“Mercury Security Systems”, Islington: god of thieves