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2008

APE, Frome, 2008

“APE Bristol” burglar alarm, Frome • More informative version of the simian soundwaves also featured here. • Spotted: Town centre, Frome, Somerset, BA11, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat […]
APE, Frome, 2008

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

Saturn Protection, Liverpool: space probe

Saturn "Saturn Protection" burglar alarm, Liverpool • On the mythology front, Saturn was an ancient and rather complex Roman god. However this design concentrates entirely on outer space, quite a lot of which has been crammed in: a magnificent section of ring-swirled Saturn, with a jaunty space probe bearing a tiny "S" logo circling it. It's possibly Pioneer 11, the first probe to Saturn. Excellent! • Spotted: Town centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
Saturn Protection, Liverpool: space probe

MAS, Liverpool: cathedral

MAS Formby "MAS Formby" burglar alarm, Liverpool • This is on Liverpool Cathedral (the C of E one) - there's a distance shot of it here. Given it nearly reads Mass,  the Catholic one might have been more apt. • Spotted: Town centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
MAS, Liverpool: cathedral

“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

“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

GAF Alarms "GAF Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • One of my favourites, both for its awkward yet traditional 1920s-style monogram, and the fact that GAF is a sort-of pun on house, though I'm not sure if that's intended.• Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

“Coastal”, Folkestone: riverine

"Coastal" burglar alarm, Folkestone • Where do rivers go? To the coast, of course (except the ones that feed lakes, or dry up in the desert, or do weird things underground, etc etc). But in most cases they do head for the coast, so I shall file Coastal under Rivers. Even though Folkestone, where I found this, doesn't actually have any rivers – just a tiny brook called the Pent Stream. • Spotted: Town centre, Folkestone, Kent, CT20, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Folkestone and Hythe Above: not-very-exciting coastal Folkestone
“Coastal”, Folkestone: riverine

“Severn Telford”, Ironbridge: industrial

"Severn Telford" burglar alarm, Ironbridge • Found on the River Severn near Telford, so does what it says on the can. Probably dates back to the Industrial Revolution, which started at the spot I found it – Ironbridge Gorge. Oh, and the Severn is Britain's longest river, don't you know. • Spotted: Tontine Hill, Ironbridge, Shropshire, TF8, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Telford Above: the River Severn at Ironbridge Gorge, near Telford
“Severn Telford”, Ironbridge: industrial

“Broadsword”, Hackney: burglar-slicer

"Broadsword" burglar alarm, Hackney • According to their website, Broadsword were formed in 1985 - and this sounder doesn't look much younger. A broadsword is a heavy military sword, all the better for slicing up burglars. Wikipedia reckons they have "basket handles" (ie the kind that cover your hand), though the one illustrated here doesn't. • Spotted: Paul Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Broadsword”, Hackney: burglar-slicer

“Sentinel”, Hereford: shattered

"Sentinel" burglar alarm, Hereford • Same firm as yesterday, much older sounder. Presumably that bit of shattered electronics was a strobe once upon a time. The long-established firm is still around today in Hereford - you can see their current identity here, featuring the popular shield and silhouetted figure tropes.• Spotted: Town centre, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Hereford and South Herefordshire
“Sentinel”, Hereford: shattered

“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

"Metropolitan Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • OK, a slight cheat – the firm's called Metropolitan, but their logo's a giant M, synonymous with groovy new wave synth-popsters M, whose "Pop Muzic" was a massive cross-pond hit in 1979. By dint of its full name, the sounder gets filed under "Religion" too, as a Metropolitan is a type of bishop, especially important in Slavic and Greek Orthodox churches. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury M of Pop Muzik fame
“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

“MG Systems”, Glasgow: possibly a Pict

"MG Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • It may be slightly contentious to lump this Scottish sounder in under Roman Britain, as the Romans famously never colonised Caledonia – partly because they weren't really that keen on it, apparently. So, although this fellow looks pretty Roman to me, he could be a Pict. The lack of a leather skirt (called, unpronounceably, a "pteruges") is no proof either way, though, as legionaries favoured trousers ("braccae") in colder climes. And of course the kilt hadn't been invented yet – it was the Victorians who dreamt that particular skirt up. • Spotted: Central Station area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“MG Systems”, Glasgow: possibly a Pict

“Knight Installations”, Dorking: thrusting sword

"Knight Installations" burglar alarm, Dorking • This is brilliant – 1970s type framing a triumphal image of a knight in ceremonial armour, complete with plumed full-face visor, cloaked warhorse, St George's Cross jerkin and massive thrusting sword. So very Dorking, and so much more effective than a guard dog. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“Knight Installations”, Dorking: thrusting sword

“Gardner”, Gloucester: wrong kind of gardener

"Gardner Security" burglar alarm, Gloucester • Finally, a gardener to keep up with all these botanical sounders – though one with poor spelling, and in possession of a lion. I assumed it was this Gardner Security, who lasted from 1981 to 2010, then became subsumed by Christie Intruder Alarms, the 42-year-old firm behind the famous CIA "crouching man" sounders. But a comment below tells me that this is a different Gardner Security, of Gloucester – who sold to Modern in the 1990s, thus ending up as part of ADT So now you know. • Spotted: Town centre, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Gloucester
“Gardner”, Gloucester: wrong kind of gardener

“Beanacre Alarms”, Frome: rural old bean

"Beanacre Alarms" burglar alarm, Frome • Just what you'd expect to find in the rural West Country, Beanacre is an obviously botanical name, as it sounds like an acre you grow beans on. And sure enough, there is indeed a place in Wiltshire called Beanacre – which is where this elderly alarm emanated from, as this local business site attests. It's not the world's most exciting acre – that's a picture of it, below. • Spotted: Town centre, Frome, Somerset, BA11, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Somerton and Frome [caption id="attachment_11499" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Welcome to Beanacre. Please drive carefully."][/caption]
“Beanacre Alarms”, Frome: rural old bean

“Arrowe”, Birkenhead: sharp shooter

"Arrowe Security Systems" burglar alarm, Birkenhead • Another alarm named after the Arrowe area of Wirral, this is an earlier incarnation of yesterday's logo. That modern one was curving and wafty like a hot air diagram, in caring sharing hug-a-hoodie style. But this straight arrow harks back to a harsher, more forceful era – the kind of weapon to shoot an errant intruder stone dead. Nice! • Spotted: Shore Road area, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birkenhead
“Arrowe”, Birkenhead: sharp shooter

“Securicor Granley”, Hackney: tupperware box

"Securicor Granley" burglar alarm, Hackney • You only see this giant tupperware cheesebox – a shape that bears no relation to any other sounder – on old Securicor and Securicor Granley boxes. They're quite rare and often pretty worn, but apart from being skew-wiff, this one is in decent condition. Some variations have the logo on a printed label affixed to the raised flat panel, but this is the most deluxe version, with the whole logo in moulded 3D type. • Spotted: Clifton Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Securicor Granley”, Hackney: tupperware box

“Regal Security Systems”, Hackney: missing monarch

"Regal Security Systems" burglar alarm, Hackney • Yesterday I posted a Regal sticker, and today here's an actual sounder, of the classic 1980s design that looks like a clock-radio when mounted horizontally. I've searched for this firm on the internet but turned up nothing whatsoever, so presumably they were bought out before the world wide web got popular. Which means I will never get to find out what the big fat "W" in the logo stands for – and whether it's meant to resemble a crown. (Update: if you check the comment below and here, the mystery is solved –  Regal was originally Wimpey, and in 2001 sold out to ADT. Which makes it surprising I couldn't track down any info on Google, because 2001 isn't that long ago.) • Spotted: Hackney area, Hackney, London, E2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Regal Security Systems”, Hackney: missing monarch

Ex-alarm, Hackney: robot skull

Ex-burglar alarm, Hackney • This ivory plastic skeleton suggests a robotic skull, and offers slightly more clues than yesterday's anonymous backplate. Peer closely and there's a maker's mark impressed top left, which reads "Designed and manufactured in England by Texecom registered design no 2036725" (I think). An easy clue for any experts out there! • Spotted: Clifton Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
Ex-alarm, Hackney: robot skull

“Falcon World Class Security”, Liverpool: stunted

"Falcon World Class Security" burglar alarm, Liverpool • I reckon this is a relative of the Liverpool falcon in a circular niche featured here, athough it's a slightly different design. "World Class Security" – I like the grandiloquence of such ambition. And it purports to be a registered trademark, too! Because there must be loads of security firms keen to rip off a logo that looks like a stunted griffin. • Spotted: Town centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
“Falcon World Class Security”, Liverpool: stunted

“Lee Security.com”, Islington: caged

"Lee Security.com" burglar alarm, Islington • Things have come to a pretty pass when not just the windows, but even the burglar alarm has to be protected by wire mesh. And this isn't from some ultra-deprived inner-city riot zone, but the posh-restaurant hot-spot of Clerkenwell. Those foodies must be desperate folk. • Spotted: St John Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Lee Security.com”, Islington: caged

“Sovereign Security”, Frome: security cliches

"Sovereign Security" burglar alarm, Frome • Another abstract piece of chain, unless I am very much mistaken, which is also possibly intended to read as an eye. How Sovereign Security converts to the acronym SSS is unclear, but a crown would have been more appropriate, given the name's royal connotations. All in all an unconnected jumble of popular security cliches: monarchy, locksmithery, vision, and multiples of the letter S. (Acronym update: research shows that the firm started out as Sovereign Security Services, but are now known as Sovereign Fire and Security, and trade from the fascinating – to me, anyway – dockyard hinterlands beneath the M5 motorway at Avonmouth, Bristol. Of course, it's always a fair bet that an unexplained "SS" stands for "Security Systems" – on burglar alarms, at least.) • Spotted: Town centre, Frome, Somerset, BA11, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Somerton and Frome
“Sovereign Security”, Frome: security cliches

“Peter Weare Ltd”, Dorking: new town verbiage

"Peter Weare Ltd" burglar alarm, Dorking • This is the most wordy alarm in my collection, stopping just short of giving the engineer's shoe size. Slotted within the essay is a key, and even that contains verbiage, with a "W" decorating the handle. The key itself is of the grand medieval type associated with castles and cathedrals – in poignant contrast to its distinctly humdrum place of origin, the unlovely post-war "new town" of Crawley. That's not to say Crawley is without interest: there's someone posting as ~notes and also *notes on Flickr who takes fascinating architectural photos of the area, including old burglar alarms such as Protectall• Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“Peter Weare Ltd”, Dorking: new town verbiage

“Chiswick Security”, Hackney: hackneyed device

"Chiswick Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • Another key with an initial in its handle, though much cruder than yesterday's elegant example. The zig-zag notches on its blade suggest that, like the other keys featured so far, it is for opening a pin-tumbler cylinder lock, typical of house front doors. Inspired by 4,000-year-old wooden devices from ancient Egypt, the definitive cylinder lock was patented by Linus Yale Junior in 1861 and remains little changed to this day – a design even older than this alarm. • Spotted: Clifton Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Chiswick Security”, Hackney: hackneyed device

“SDT Securities”, Dorking: awkward acronym

"SDT Securities" burglar alarm, Dorking • Another alarm featuring a literal depiction of a key, this time with an awkward unexplained acronym squeezed in. I like the way the screw caps are popping off and casting their own little shadows – they look like tiny alien eyes. I featured a wide-angle shot of this device in the "Beautiful Decay" category – it's on a wire-swathed wall that's even more olde worlde than the alarm. But that's Dorking for you. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“SDT Securities”, Dorking: awkward acronym

“Gemeni Alarms”, Islington: dyslexic twins

"Gemeni Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • Finally, scraping the bottom of the zodiacal barrel, a very basic and mis-spelled Gemini alarm – unless I’m missing something, and it says Gemeni for good reason, eg it's written in Romanian. So we’ve had Gemini the twins not once, but twice – one boring, and one boring and dyslexic. Uncanny! That’s it for astrological alarms, just the four: Zodiac, Scorpio, Gemini and Gemeni. I have found no more, whereas there are scores of animals on burglar alarms, which share similar – if less mystical – iconography. As I pointed out in the Zodiac entry, that leaves a gap in the naming market. I hope someone takes it up – and remembers to illustrate it. • Spotted: Goswell Road, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Above: the constellation of Gemini visualised as twins holding hands (not the usual depiction, which is abstract – see yesterday), by the children's author H.A. Rey. Realistic!
“Gemeni Alarms”, Islington: dyslexic twins

“Gemini Security Systems”, Liverpool: boring twins

"Gemini Security Systems" burglar alarm, Liverpool • Apart from the name, this is supremely boring – it could at least have included a picture of some twins. Astronomically, Gemini is one of the oldest-named constellations, dating far back into the Bronze Age and called "The Great Twins" by the Babylonians. To the Greeks they were the talented horsemen Castor and Pollux, who despite being twin brothers had different dads, meaning only Pollux was immortal; when Castor died, Zeus allowed him to share Pollux's immortality, bonding them together in heaven as the constellation the Romans called Gemini. Astrologically, it's the versatile third sign of the zodiac, ruled by fleet-footed messenger god Mercury. Gemini types are meant to be lively, inquisitive, communicative, inconsistent, and a bit unreliable – not all of which are useful traits for security firms. My theory for why Gemini is one of the few signs represented on burglar alarms, and a popular business name in general, is that Geminis are inordinately proud of their dual-natured and slightly annoying star sign characteristics. And, to prove my point, there will be another one along tomorrow... • Spotted: Town centre, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside Above: the not-very-twinlike constellation of Gemini as it is usually depicted, from the digital sky images at www.allthesky.com.
“Gemini Security Systems”, Liverpool: boring twins

“Scorpio Security”, Hackney: sinister arthropod

"Scorpio Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • In my entry on the weird Pac-Man-esque Orion alarm, I explained how the giant hunter was killed by a scorpion and turned into a constellation by Zeus. And now we come to the unfortunate arthropod which stung him, also flung into the heavens by Zeus, where it became the constellation of Scorpius, eternally snapping at Orion's heels. Astrologically, it represents the mysterious eighth sign of the zodiac, ruled by the Greek god Pluto – aka Hades, lord of the underworld – and reputedly the most powerful star sign. Scorpios are supposed to be intense, secretive, power-loving, cunning, unforgiving, vengeful and, as the alarm probably wants to suggest, with a considerable sting in their tail. This strange logo, like a J with horns, could almost be the symbol for some obscure occult sect – thus living up to Scorpio’s sinister image. • Spotted: Hackney area, Hackney, London,  England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch Above: A nice 1825 etching of the constellation Scorpio from the Library of Congress, Washington DC.
“Scorpio Security”, Hackney: sinister arthropod

“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

“MAS” burglar alarm, Liverpool: dirty great pile

"MAS Formby" burglar alarm, Liverpool • This carefully-placed burglar alarm is affixed to the great and grubby neo-gothic pile of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, one of two such religious edifices piously dominating the city's skyline, bookending the aptly-named Hope Street. It's the cathedral that doesn't look like a flying saucer: the one that does is for Roman Catholics. The reason it doesn't look like a flying saucer is because it was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, grandson of high Victorian goth Sir George Gilbert Scott (there's an alarm on one of his churches here); and although responsible for the magnificently monolithic Battersea Power Station and its modernist ex-power station sibling Tate Modern, Sir Giles wasn't into sci-fi-related structures – unless you count the red K6 telephone box. The hulking monstrosity of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is not, in my opinion, amongst his finest works: perhaps because he was born a Roman Catholic. (I couldn't find an alarm on the RC Metropolitan Cathedral, by the way, though I had a good look.) • Spotted: Liverpool Cathedral, Cathedral Close, Liverpool, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
“MAS” burglar alarm, Liverpool: dirty great pile

“SDT Securities”, Dorking: old-skool wiring

"SDT Securities" burglar alarm, Dorking • Another old Surrey wall, this time from the town of Dorking, an attractive place despite its dorky name and supposed boringness. The wall is festooned with cut-off wires and bird poo, and the alarm's logo features the old-skool device of a key – very passé these days. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“SDT Securities”, Dorking: old-skool wiring

Hidden alarm, Westminster: a hand-tailored hole

Burglar alarm with name hidden in niche, City of Westminster • A custom alarm niche in swanky New Bond Street, home of London's most expensive niche retailers. The sounder is clinging gecko-like to the roof of a shop doorway, which I happened across while it was undergoing refitting works during the transition from one rip-off fashion emporium to another. And so high class a job was it, that when the builders boarded the doorway up, they even cut out this snug little hand-tailored hole especially for the burglar alarm. • Spotted: New Bond Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Hidden alarm, Westminster: a hand-tailored hole

“Home Guard Vess”, Birkenhead: roadside icons

"Home Guard Vess" burglar alarm, Birkenhead • This, like yesterday's niche, comes from a Merseyside warehouse, though across the the river in Birkenhead. I found it during a rather anal search for 1930s Mersey Tunnel vents, immense rectilinear brick structures reminiscent of neo-fascist churches (there are some excellent photos here). Of course, due to its Irish heritage, the whole Merseyside area is strongly Roman Catholic – which lends these burglar alarm niches the feel of vigilant roadside icons. • Spotted: Shore Road area, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birkenhead
“Home Guard Vess”, Birkenhead: roadside icons

“Security Alarm Services”, Hereford: rural gem

"Security Alarm Services" burglar alarm, Hereford • I'm generally not keen on jewel-shaped burglar alarms but this one, no pun intended, is a gem. And what better to sit on a sparkling gem that a thieving magpie, which despite not being identified by name, this bird indubitably is. It's a sensitive piece of design, the attractive drawing perching cleverly atop the logo, a somewhat crime-inappropriate but charmingly foliate 1970s-style swash font. The firm's initials spell SAS, which would seem more suited to an aggressive combat-style design; but this is from wild and woolly rural Herefordshire in the far west of England, where placid cows and perky birdies rule. In honour of its peaceable location, I should add that magpies in folklore are not considered totally bad, being believed in some parts to protect the household and predict the future. On the other hand, in Scottish superstition a magpie near the window foretells death – which makes placing a Magpie burglar alarm there a pretty bad idea. • Spotted: Town centre, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Hereford and South Herefordshire
“Security Alarm Services”, Hereford: rural gem

“Frome Security Centre”, Frome: a duck enchained

"Frome Security Centre" burglar alarm, Frome • Frome (pronounced Froome) is an arty little Somerset wool town that was once a hotbed of non-conformism, and is full of interesting old architecture including a plethora of quirky churches and chapels. So, rather than have a fierce hawk or a wise owl on their burglar alarms, they have this distinctly non-conformist design – a wacky cartoon duck tethered to what looks like the ball-cock from a lavatory cistern, but is in fact a convict's ball and chain. Why the duck needs to be imprisoned, or what it has to do with preventing crime, is impossible to guess. It's just one of those whimsical West Country things. • Spotted: Town centre, Frome, Somerset, BA11, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Somerton and Frome
“Frome Security Centre”, Frome: a duck enchained

“Strident Bell”, Marlow: found art object

"Strident Bell" burglar alarm, Marlow • My final bell-themed alarm for now is the superbly-named vintage device which starred as centrepiece of my recent post on red alarms. I've got no idea how old it is; the typeface looks 1930s, but it's more likely to date from the 1950s. Its owners must be fond of it, because at some point someone has repainted the red case, carefully avoiding the lettering – and taking it straight into the realm of the found art object. • Spotted: Riverside area, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beaconsfield
“Strident Bell”, Marlow: found art object

“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

“RH Alarms”, Frome: faded felon

RH Alarms burglar alarm (faded), Frome, 2008"RH Alarms" burglar alarm (faded), Frome, 2008 • The ultimate in anonymous intruders: a burglar so bleached that only his generic silhouette remains. With a bit of tweaking in Photoshop, it is possible to discover the logo "RH Alarms" – a suitably uninformative name. • Spotted: Town centre, Frome, Somerset, BA11, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Somerton and Frome RH Alarms burglar alarm (faded), Frome, 2008
“RH Alarms”, Frome: faded felon

“Kudos”, Bath: soppy superannuated Alasatian

"Kudos" burglar alarm, Bath, 2008"Kudos" burglar alarm, Bath, 2008 • I love this soppy Alsatian alarm in so many ways. It's on a poncey pink-painted wall in the genteel Romano-Georgian city of Bath. It has a snobbish classical name – "Kudos", meaning glory or renown in Greek – and depicts a potentially vicious dog as a delicate, doe-eyed supplicant. Its logo is a sensitive ink drawing, rare on a burglar alarm, and is printed on an ill-fitting sticker, not guaranteed to inspire confidence. The alarm casing looks like a 1980s clock radio, while the dial-phone symbol is probably not ironic, because this area code went extinct in 1995. The whole contraption is spattered in mud, which complements the pointillist style of the drawing and adds to the general air of pathos. And finally, it's from a Lib-Dem constituency, which makes it a definite underdog in numerical terms. Sad superannuation, pompous overstatement, a cuddly creature, naive design, an attractive architectural setting – it ticks all my favourite boxes. • Spotted: Town centre, Bath, Avon, BA2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath "Kudos" burglar alarm, Bath, 2008
“Kudos”, Bath: soppy superannuated Alasatian