Skip to content

Triangles

E.C.I., Venice: cute

“E.C.I.” burglar alarm, Venice • Cute plastic pairing on the tiny church-bound isle of San Giorgio. I’m guessing the green one signals intruders, and the red one fires. • Spotted: Cini […]
E.C.I., Venice: cute

Chubb, York: branding

NoName (Chubb) "Chubb" burglar alarm, York • And finally, to reinforce yesterday's point, another example of the classic blue triangle. This one's gone completely rusty, apart from its wee strobey hat  – but you can still tell it was a Chubb. How's that for branding? • Spotted: Stonegate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Chubb, York: branding

Chubb, Bristol: triangularity

Chubb "Chubb" burglar alarm, Bristol • And here we have the ultimate in burglar alarm triangularity, the Chubb. I'm talking vintage Chubbs here, the kind with a sharp-edged metal box. and even a mini-triangle strobe on the top. It's a superb-looking design, but sadly  they tend to go a bit rusty... • Spotted: St Nicholas Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Chubb, Bristol: triangularity

Protec Wells, Bristol: ziggurat

Protec Wells "Protec Wells" burglar alarm, Bristol • How charming, a logo in the form a steppy triangle. A typographic ziggurat, if you will. I think it refers to the tiny city of Wells, rather than claiming to protect water-harbouring holes in the ground. Although you never know in the West Country – things sometimes get a bit weird out that way, and they do have quite a lot of ancient wells. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Protec Wells, Bristol: ziggurat

TTS Security, Tower Hamlets: weedy

TTS Security "TTS Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This really is a weedy little unexplained acronym, isn't it? If it didn't have a triangle and a sort-of-globe on it, I'd never have got round to featuring it. • Spotted: Middlesex Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
TTS Security, Tower Hamlets: weedy

Network, Oxford: sigh

Network Security & Alarms Ltd "Network Security & Alarms Ltd" burglar alarm, Oxford • Sigh. It's got a triangle on it. 'Nuff said. • Spotted: Cornmarket, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
Network, Oxford: sigh

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

Interceptor, Dorking: groovy

Interceptor Intruder Alarm System "Interceptor Intruder Alarm System" burglar alarm, Dorking • Dunno what the white shark's fin signifies, but it's a triangle (scalene, don't you know), so finally provides an excuse to feature this quintessentially 1970s-looking design. In my fevered imagination, the whizzy graphics conjure up images of the local rich folk buzzing around in groovy Jensen Interceptor cars, though it's probably more about intercepting Johnny Burglar. Have patience, I've been writing about triangles for weeks now, and it's starting to get to me. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
Interceptor, Dorking: groovy

Index, Westminster: flash

Index "Index" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Quite a striking design with its red reversed-out flash, and one I've been waiting to use for ages. Thanks to the power of the triangular trope, here it finally is. • Spotted: Mortimer Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Index, Westminster: flash

Delta Security, Hull: Greek

Delta KCStadium TheCircle AnlabyRd Hull HU3 6HU DSCN3230_800 "Delta Security" burglar alarm, Hull • We've had an alpha, now here's a delta. It's amazing how much Greek you get on burglar alarms. • Spotted: KC Stadium, The Circle, Anlaby Road, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU3, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
Delta Security, Hull: Greek

Choice, Hackney: essay

Choice "Choice" burglar alarm, Hackney • Another triangle-circle combo, this time channelling the ever-popular pizza-cum-Pacman furrow. This one's more Pacman than pizza, and they've practically written an essay on it, in really tiny type. • Spotted: Charlotte Road, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
Choice, Hackney: essay

Cartel, Tower Hamlets: wonky

Cartel Security Surveillance Communications "Cartel Security Surveillance Communications" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I don't know what this is all about. The logo's a triangle with a chunk cut out that doesn't look like anything except a wonky "V", and the name of the company refers to a type of business arrangement that's associated, in popular parlance, with illegal price fixing. Not that I'm suggested in any way that that's what this firm gets up to; it probably just sounded good when they thought of it. • Spotted: Poyser Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
Cartel, Tower Hamlets: wonky

Audible Security, Birmingham: flowery

Audible WaterSt Birmingham B3 DSCN6120_800 "Audible Security" burglar alarm, Birmingham • Blimey, well I'd hope it would be audible, it's pretty useless otherwise. Though it'll have to be pretty loud to pierce through the tsunami of flowers cascading from the window box above it (see below). • Spotted: Water Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood Audible WaterSt Birmingham B3 DSCN6119_1200
Audible Security, Birmingham: flowery

Altech Security, Westminster: scalene

Altech Security "Altech Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Shamelessly repeating, due to its triangular trope,  a company I very recently featured here, with a different shaped box. Completing our trio of triangle types, it's a scalene triangle, with no equal sides (I think – I'm not about to measure it). But we can be sure the internal angles still add up to 180 degrees. Snore! • Spotted: Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Altech Security, Westminster: scalene

Apollo Alarms, Lambeth: sunrays

Apollo Alarms "Apollo Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Found near the Archbishop of Canterbury's gaff at Lambeth Palace, this features un-Christian Apollo, favourite Greek god of burglar alarms. So maybe that triangle of radiating waves is meant to be sunrays, rather than the more usual soundwaves.• Spotted: Lambeth Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Apollo Alarms, Lambeth: sunrays

Abel, York: label

“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 […]
Abel, York: label

AE, Marlborough: protected

AE "AE" burglar alarm, Marlborough • I'm assuming this is a triangular monogram saying AE, which would be a clever piece of typography. Alternately it could represent a 3D letter "A" with stripey sides. Either way, like yesterday's AAI, it's clearly designed to fill the whole delta – and unlike this wonky ASG, is protected from pigeons / seagulls, too. • Spotted: Town centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Devizes
AE, Marlborough: protected

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

ASG, Newquay: seagull poo

ASGSecurity BankSt Newquay nr TR7 1AX 00032_800 "ASG" burglar alarm, Newquay • A descendent of Alarm Service Group – there's some comment about that on this ASG entry. I must say, to the untrained eye, this isn't the world's neatest installation. And, being in Cornwall, that's probably seagull rather than pigeon poo. • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
ASG, Newquay: seagull poo

Mack Alarms, Camden: subtle

Mack Alarms Limited "Mack Alarms Limited" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I see loads of old Mack Alarms around locally, so it's about time I featured one – notice subtle stripey triangle in background. The 01 phone number suggests it's a pretty old example. • Spotted: Toynbee Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
Mack Alarms, Camden: subtle

CAS Security, Hackney: beaky

CAS Security "CAS Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • This is a very peculiar design; I can't work out whether the logo is meant to be a monogram, a stylised object of some kind, or just random. To me, it most suggests a weird beaky face. I saw loads of these in Birmingham recently, so it's not an uncommon brand. • Spotted: Shoreditch High Street, Hackney, London, E1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
CAS Security, Hackney: beaky

Safeway Security, York: triangles

Safeway Security "Safeway Security" burglar alarm, York • Starting today: some examples of the very popular burglar alarm trope of triangles, often allied with monograms. This one's not to be confused with a certain supermarket. • Spotted: Burton Stone Lane, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Safeway Security, York: triangles

Altech Security, Lambeth: flag

Altech Security "Altech Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • As in All Tech, perhaps? The black "flag" design works well within this delta shape, though it's a bit weird repeating the name twice. And it makes me think of Back Flag cockroach traps (or Roach Motels as they charmingly call them in the USA). • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Altech Security, Lambeth: flag

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

Fife Alarms, Edinburgh: shrieky

Fife Alarms "Fife Alarms" burglar alarm, Edinburgh • Another medieval instrument, and even shriller than the clarion, a fife is a small, shrieky flute beloved of marching bands. It's also a place in Scotland of course, which is probably what this alarm was named after. • Spotted: Howe Street, Edinburgh, EH3, Scotland, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh North and Leith
Fife Alarms, Edinburgh: shrieky

“Ultra”, Liverpool: verily

Ultra "Ultra" burglar alarm, Liverpool • More Latin, though this just means very very very very. Which is, verily, quite an avant-garde name for a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Stanley Dock area, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
“Ultra”, Liverpool: verily

“Precision”, Edinburgh: straightforward

Precision HighSt Edinburgh nr EH1 1SR 00588_800 "Precision" burglar alarm, Edinburgh • Another straightforward statement of alarm-appropriate excellence: I would have been more excited to find a firm called Inaccuracy, or Sloppiness. Red triangles are quite a popular motif, I've noticed – maybe it's something to do with suggesting a "stop" sign (though it also looks like a "play" button to me).• Spotted: High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh East
“Precision”, Edinburgh: straightforward

“Ability”, Camden: generic

Ability Security Systems "Ability Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • Ability. Well, it's a form of excellence, albeit somewhat generic. "So, what particularly excellent quality does your firm have?" "Ability, mate." "OK, my good fellow, can't argue with that. You're hired!" • Spotted: Greville Street, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Ability”, Camden: generic

“ASG Security”, Falmouth: sacrilege

ASG Security "ASG Security" burglar alarm, Falmouth • Oh sacrilege. You can just about see, underneath this sticker, the superb original Alarm Service Group design, which I eulogise here. Somebody went and replaced it with this awkward three-letter monogram, which remains unexplained, despite repeating the initials twice. • Spotted: Killigrew Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Truro and Falmouth
“ASG Security”, Falmouth: sacrilege

“Smiths Security”, Oxford: stripey blazer

Smiths Security Est 1850 "Smiths Security Est 1850" burglar alarm, Oxford • In the US this wouldn't be considered a monogram, as it's only one letter – even though the origin of the word monogram is "monogrammos", Greek for "consisting of a single letter". And generally, I am focusing on two or more letters for my monogram theme. However this triangular letter "S", which takes up as much space as humanly possible on the sounder, is so superb it has to feature. Not only does it resemble a stripey Edwardian blazer, and look like the kind of burglar alarm you'd find Patrick McGoohan tampering with in The Prisoner's creepy Village - it says "Est. 1850"! Can't argue with than. Sadly, Smiths Security now have a far less idiosyncratic design. • Spotted: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Smiths Security”, Oxford: stripey blazer

“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

“Trade”, Camden: crosshairs

Trade Security Systems Plc "Trade Security Systems Plc" burglar alarm, Camden • This is a funny old logo. It's a bit hard to make out, as one of the colours has faded, and I'm not really sure what the design is meant to signify. However the thing it resembles most to me is the crosshairs of a gun sight, so into the "shooting" theme it goes. • Spotted: Warren Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Trade”, Camden: crosshairs

“Delta”, Hackney: creek

"Delta Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • According to useless Yahoo Answers, there are no river deltas in Britain, because there's not a vast enough area of flat land. But I've found one: the Wandle Delta. Admittedly it's just an forgotten little industrial creek off the Thames, but hey – we can't all be the Mississippi. In fact there are plans to smarten it up with posh housing, but I rather like how it looks now – must go and explore it before it's too late. Amazing the things you learn researching burglar alarms! • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Wandle Delta Tom Bolton 5502093622_235213cc86 Above: a great pic of the Wandle Delta by Tom Bolton – see more on Flickr here
“Delta”, Hackney: creek

“M25”, Borehamwood: flooded

"M25 Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Borehamwood • As I write this, there is such severe weather across the UK that loads of roads and rivers are flooded. Something of a coincidence then, that my new theme is "roads and rivers". I start with London's orbital motorway, the M25, currently submerged in parts. • Spotted: Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Hertsmere Above: The M25 (unflooded)
“M25”, Borehamwood: flooded

“Guard Security Systems”, Camden: vicious

"Guard Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • That's enough Foot Guards – here's an altogether more violent fellow, who I think may be meant to be a Norman soldier. In fact, he's the most vicious sounder figure I've found since this stabby Centurion in Sheffield. • Spotted: Hatton Garden, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Guard Security Systems”, Camden: vicious

“Assure”, Glasgow: foot guard

"Assure" burglar alarm, Glasgow • The correct name for these guys is Royal Foot Guards, and the Her Maj has four in front of Buck House whenever she's in residence (two when she's not). This one's lurking in a non-standard sentry box roofed with Assure's "AA" logo. Has anyone informed the Palace? • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“Assure”, Glasgow: foot guard

“Sentry Alarms”, Hull: furry hat

"Sentry Alarms Limited" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • It's not just the Queen who's guarded by blokes in giant furry hats – they're very popular on burglar alarms, as we shall see. The one above is on a blameless wall in Hull, but here's one I featured earlier that was decorating a brothel (seriously). • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Sentry Alarms”, Hull: furry hat

“Sussex Alarms”, Brighton: superior helmet

"Sussex Alarms" burglar alarm, Brighton • Not, as it may appear, Darth Vader, but a Roman soldier in his finely-crafted helmet.Sussex was positively crawling with Romans in olden days, their metal headgear being vastly superior to the barbarians' leather contraptions. Not that I am suggesting Sussex is full of barbarians. • Spotted: Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Sussex Alarms”, Brighton: superior helmet

“Woodlands”, Westminster: ancient wood

"Woodlands Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Another bosky firm, Kent-based Woodlands was dissolved in 2005, the year I photographed their sounder (there's a red light at the far right, so it must be still working). Their HQ was in Erith, near to ancient Oxleas Wood and the 89 acre Woodlands Farm (a charitable trust open to all) – which is possibly the source of their name. However their WSS monogram logo isn't very clear, leading the sounder to suggest it belongs to an organisation called "SS" – never a very good look. • Spotted: Oxford Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Woodlands”, Westminster: ancient wood

“Trencherwood New Homes”, Southwark: old oak

"Trencherwood New Homes" burglar alarm, Southwark • Inexplicably, the house I found this on was "new" in around 1800, which was before even Berkshire-based property firm Trencherwood New Homes’ era, though they're part of history too, now. There's a picture on Flickr of a bronze ram statue Trencherwood commissioned in 1989 (seriously), which has a comment saying they sold up in 1996 and were eventually acquired by Barratt Developments PLC in 2007. Their heyday seems to have been the 1980s, which would be commensurate with this Eurobell – note the famed "off centre" screw, as recently discussed here. It's decorated with a sprig of gently decaying oak leaves and acorns, strengthening my suspicion that all sounders with acorns on are for defunct firms. • Spotted: Bermondsey Square, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Trencherwood New Homes”, Southwark: old oak

“Cactus Security”, Camden: piercing spikes

"Cactus Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Kent-based Cactus Security specialise in construction sites, so you see a lot of their alarms on scaffolded buidings. The message is clear: you really wouldn't want to scale a structure bristling with piercing spikes. And maybe there's a nod to the wild west in their logo, too... not that I'm suggesting the building industry is inhabited by cowboys. • Spotted: Southampton Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Cactus Security”, Camden: piercing spikes

“Len Gunstone”, Bath: three arrows in one

"Len Gunstone Bath" burglar alarm, Bath • Three arrows in one – or perhaps an arrow piercing a triangular rock – for Len Gunstone of Bath, whose sounder is taking a bath in Gay Street (no chortling at the back there). Oh, I've just realised – it's also a naive monogram comprised of a very angular "L" (outer black triangle) and "G" (inner yellow triangle), with an arrow in the centre. Clever – but unreadable. Googling Len Gunstone throws up a 2012 website for a firm called BSA, aka Bath Security Alarms, whose logo is a cube inexplicably emerging from (or dropping into) a hole. Not one I've come across yet in the plastic. • Spotted: Gay Street, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Len Gunstone”, Bath: three arrows in one

“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Sheffield • After yesterday's unusual pentagonal Chubb, here's the classic equilateral triangle version. Not an uncommon design per se as there are lots of Chubbs around, but it's a one-firm shape, and the sharp-cornererd metal vintage ones like this are starting to rust into oblivion, normally from the bottom edge up – maybe the design causes rainwater  to collect there. • Spotted: Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

“Summa”, Aylesbury: theological treatise

"Summa" burglar alarm, Aylesbury • There's a learned Christian reference here, possibly unintentional: the Summa Theologica, aka the Summa, was a major religious tract by 13th-century philosopher Thomas Aquinas, hugely influential despite being unfinished. In it, he attempted to sum up all of Christian theology to that date, and present five infallible arguments for the existence of God. In broader terms, Summa could refer to a summary of anything; but the mountain-like triangle suggests it is meant in its Latin sense, "summit". Unless it's a weird masonic symbol representing the Holy Trinity, which I very much doubt. • Spotted: Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Aylesbury
“Summa”, Aylesbury: theological treatise

“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

"C&H Alarms" and nameless burglar alarm, Sheffield • Finally, not exactly a multiple, but such a nice pairing it looks deliberate – a fancy new C&H sounder on a charming pink wall, showing up its plain-faced companion on dowdy unpainted bricks, united by the curlicued Myrtles plaque, hovering like some protective Victorian auntie. (I'm wasted here – I should be writing hackneyed romantic fiction, not burglar alarm descriptions.) I found them near Hillsborough Stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday, on an enforced tour of various football grounds – always fertile ground for burglar alarms too, fortunately. • Spotted: Parkside Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S6, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

“IFSS Infocus Security”, Hounslow: verbal vision

"IFSS Infocus Security" burglar alarm, Hounslow • Now I leave the visual representation of eyes for a few alarms that, counterintuitively, refer to vision verbally – in this case, with that popular catch-all management-speak buzz-word, "focus". In all other ways, it's a supremely boring design – it isn't even an unexplained acronym, despite the extra "S" (for "systems", presumably). I promise there are some better ones to come. • Spotted: Chiswick Mall, Hounslow, London, W4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brentford and Isleworth
“IFSS Infocus Security”, Hounslow: verbal vision

“Classic Security”, Camden: a witty match

"www.Classic-Security.com" burglar alarm, Camden • How perfect is this? Such a witty match between burglar alarm and business can be no coincidence. Not only does Classic Security's name allude to the shop it protects, which specialises in ancient Greek-style gifts, but the Parthenon logo that decorates it looks just like the portico of the grand building opposite: that neo-classical repository of Greek and Roman loot, The British Museum. Not quite mythology perhaps, but a nice summation of the subject. Tomorrow: the Zodiac (so more mythology, really). • Spotted: Bury Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras Above: It's All Greek (left), a gift shop in Bloomsbury, whose classical burglar alarm matches the building opposite (right) – The British Museum
“Classic Security”, Camden: a witty match

“Aegis”, Camden: magical fashion item

"Aegis" burglar alarm, Camden • "Under the aegis of" is commonly understood to mean "under the protection of", so like yesterday's Argus, this is an unusually sensible mythological name for a security device. In ancient Greece the Aegis was a protective breastplate or cloak, originally a thundercloud invoked by Zeus, and later the skin of a divine goat worn by his warlike daughter Athena. Her exclusive over-the-top haute couture version was a golden snakeskin extravaganza, generally depicted as covered in scales and fringed with tinkling tassels or writhing serpents, all fastened with the severed head of Medusa, the scary snake-haired Gorgon. The idea of the magically protective Aegis caught on and spread to Egypt, Rome and beyond; and 2,500 years later the Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace made his fortune by taking the Medusa-and-snakeskin look to improbable extremes, though it didn't protect him from being murdered on his Florida doorstep in 1997. The Aegis can also take the form of a Medusa-faced shield, so the shape of this alarm is very apt, as well as showing that Aegis is under the aegis of Banham, whose proprietary sounder this is. It's somewhat let down by the obscure Aegis logo, which is like a red pyramid with a lighting bolt through it, possibly representing an A and an E. But surely a severed Gorgon's head would have been better? • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn Above: The Aegis as hot ancient fashion item. Left: The classic over-the-shoulder Aegis cloak as modelled by Athena in a Roman copy of a Greek statue, "Athena Cherchel-Ostia" (c.400 BC), from the Louvre, Paris. Above right: the Aegis worn in casual cross-body style on another Athena statue, "Athena Lemnia" from the Staatliche Museum, Dresden. Note the Gorgon Medusa's head, a popular decoration appropriated 2,500 years later by Gianni VersaceBelow right: An Egyptian-style Aegis, on a Nubian bust of the goddess Isis (c.300 BC) from the British Museum, London.
“Aegis”, Camden: magical fashion item

“Chubb”, Hackney: the oldest brand of all

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Hackney • It's ironic that I selected this iconic blue Chubb box for its Modernist design, as it turns out to be the oldest brand name of all; and also, sadly, a blueprint for the decline of British industry at the hands of high finance over the last 40 years. The company was launched in 1804 by Charles Chubb, who started out selling ships' ironmongery, but moved into security when his brother Jeremiah invented a new type of lock. After gaining a Royal Warrant in the 1830s, the Chubb family enjoyed five generations of global growth, providing security for everything from the Crown Jewels to the Koh-i-Noor diamond to Winston Churchill's wartime papers. By the end of the 1960s the Wolverhampton-based company had swallowed up Rely-A-Bell and many other smaller rivals and was a respected bastion of British industry. According to ex-employee David Ibbs, the rot set in during the 1970s when Chubb damaged its finances by acquiring – under government urging – the failing Gross cash register business. And so, as the era of deregulation dawned, the weakened Chubb shifted from being a proud family-run manufacturer providing careers for life, to being the financial plaything of City moguls driven only by the bottom line. Starting with a misguided acquisition by Racal in 1984, Chubb demerged and remerged with other multinationals several times, "downsizing" (ie making skilled and loyal staff redundant) each time, and gradually splitting apart so that locks, safes and alarms ended up with different owners. Today, the alarms division is just a small part of American conglomerate United Technologies Corporation (UTC), while the other pieces are owned by Swedish multinationals. Chubb's last family boss, George Charles Hayter Chubb, aka the third Baron Hayter, was a highly-regarded Lords cross-bencher who tried to block Maggie Thatcher's destruction of the GLC, and once chaired the Design Council. Presumably his interest in design led to the 1970s introduction of this minimalist blue branding with its striking triangular box, known for obvious reasons as the "Delta". This powerful design has survived Chubb's many changes of ownership and lives on still, its current incarnation being a chunky-looking round-cornered Delta in posh navy plastic. In earlier times there was also a square blue metal box bearing the same logo, and I recently spotted a distressing new pentagonal variation. The example pictured here is a classic old metal Delta with faded paint and sharp corners, possibly dating from the 1980s. The (intentionally?) "chubby" initial C is, apparently, based on the front view of a mortice lock – a last poignant link to the glory days of the original Chubb brothers and their once-great British company. • Spotted: Kings Wharf, Hackney, London, N1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Chubb”, Hackney: the oldest brand of all

“JB-Eye”, Manchester: Pacman eats burglar

JB-Eye burglar alarm, Manchester, 2009"JB-Eye Security Systems" burglar alarm, Manchester, 2009 • "Please, Mr Pacman, don't eat me! I don't want to be a topping on your giant cheese pizza!" This looks like a tiny, pleading figure imploring a monster Pacman not to devour him. The unusual refinement of a shadow suggests a blast of nuclear light emanating from the chomping black blob. What the title JB-Eye has to do with it all is opaque – the name of some weird Pacman religion perhaps? • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central JB-Eye burglar alarm, Manchester, 2009
“JB-Eye”, Manchester: Pacman eats burglar