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Derby

Alpha, Derby, 2010

“Alpha” burglar alarm, Derby • And now a very short run of Greek letters. Starting with Alpha, natch. (And still quite grungy.) • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 […]
Alpha, Derby, 2010

Eclipse, Derby: strange

Eclipse Alarms "Eclipse Alarms" burglar alarm, Derby • Strange choice of name for a solar-powered alarm! Nice to see a fully-illustrated eclipse, though. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
Eclipse, Derby: strange

Euro Tech, Derby: older

Euro Tech "Euro Tech" burglar alarm, Derby • Don't know if this is the same firm as yesterday's Eurotech; that was one word, this is two. It's older and crapper-looking, that's for sure. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
Euro Tech, Derby: older

“Boss”, Derby: top cat

Boss Security Ashbourne "Boss Security Ashbourne" burglar alarm, Derby • No arguing with this - it's da boss. And of course boss is slang for excellent, as well as meaning top dog. Speaking of which, I'd like to think it was inspired by Boss Cat rather than Bruce Springsteen, though probably it's neither. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Boss”, Derby: top cat

“AT Alarms”, Derby: clunky

AT Alarms "AT Alarms" burglar alarm, Derby • Called AT in the logo, and ATA in the monogram, with neither explained (Alarm Technology, perhaps). I wonder if the  clunky ATA is meant to conjure up the scales of justice? Because it looks more like a trestle table. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“AT Alarms”, Derby: clunky

“Mace”, Derby: bonce-buster

"Mace" burglar alarm, Derby • I once saw a real Tudor mace in a museum, and it was very scary indeed - a massive club that could shatter a skull with one blow. And these days, Mace is a generic term for tear gas and pepper spray, of the type popular for quelling civil unrest. So despite the atractive ceremonial crossed maces shown here, it's not a weapon you'd want to get too close to. I found this sounder in Derby, so I reckon the firm behind it is Staffordshire-based Mace Security, though the logo's now changed to something less martial. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Mace”, Derby: bonce-buster

“Homeguard Security Systems”, Derby: bobble hats

"Homeguard Security Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • These guys look like toy soldiers, albeit with guns – and their bearskins look like bobbles. But, given the Queen only gets four Foot Guards outside her gaff, having three on the front of your house isn't bad going. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Homeguard Security Systems”, Derby: bobble hats

“Sharp Alarm Systems”, Derby: big bold pointer

"Sharp Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • A big bold tabloid-style arrow from Sharp – albeit a trifle faded, and on what I think is a rather despised sounder amongst the burglar alarm cognoscenti. I like it, although it would be equally at home pointing to a car boot sale. The 20-year-old firm of Sharp Alarm Systems still exists, now with an even more tabloid-looking red, black and white design and some of those delta boxes that light up at night. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Sharp Alarm Systems”, Derby: big bold pointer

“Arrowe”, Derby: soapsuds to sounders

"Arrowe Security Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • Although illustrated with an arrow, Cheshire firm Arrowe is not mis-spelled – its name refers to Arrowe Park and Hall in Wirral, an estate founded by Liverpudlian slave trader John Shaw, and later bought by cleaning products magnate Lord Leverhulme. These days the the park is owned by the local authority, the hall is a private care home, and the name is immortalised on a burglar alarm. From slaves to soapsuds to sounders: so goes the modern world. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Arrowe”, Derby: soapsuds to sounders

“Pointer”, Derby: pocket dog

"Pointer" burglar alarm, Derby • I've already featured a couple of Pointers, but this is by far the most recent – and the only example of this slightly "pocketty" shape of sounder I've ever come across. I still like the cute mutt logo, now in a smart silver roundel. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Pointer”, Derby: pocket dog

“Acorn Security Systems”, Derby: nuts!

"Acorn Security Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • In the absence of a zebra, yak, xenops (a type of bird, fact fans), warthog, vulture, unicorn (because I already did one here), or tapir, the final beast in this alphabetical creature feature is a squirrel, representing Acorn Security Systems (whose acronym would be ASS, like this alarm). To which all I can say is... nuts. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South Above: a real squirrel (photo by Mariappan Jawaharlal)
“Acorn Security Systems”, Derby: nuts!

“Samson Technology”, Derby: Philistines beware

"Samson Technology Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • So, a burglar alarm named after a blind, randy, brutally-strong murderer, albeit one who has inspired great art and literature, pop musicians as diverse as Tom Jones and Eyeless in Gaza, and golden syrup. Although there are many parallels for super-powerful heroes in ancient Eurasian mythology, most famously Heracles, Samson is a specifically Hebrew figure who springs from the Old Testament and associated texts. He was an incredibly disruptive presence: a philandering Philistine-killing machine, embroiled in the intractable middle-eastern turmoil that continues to this day. After Delilah cut off his hair and his strength, allowing the Philistines to stab out his eyes and enslave him in Gaza, he still managed to topple a temple on them in an ingenious pre-gunpowder version of suicide bombing. But, had you hired him as a burglar deterrent (and not been a Philistine), I am sure he would have worked out excellently. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South Above: Samson – scenes from a life. Left: Delilah cuts off his hair in a detail of "Samson and Delilah" (c.1530) by Lucas Cranach the Elder, from the Met. Middle: a lion Samson killed en route to his wedding, from the famous Lyle's Golden Syrup "lion and bees" tin. Right: pulling down the temple of Dagon in "Death of Samson" (1865) by Gustav Doré, from "The Doré Gallery of Bible Illustrations" vol 3, scanned online at Project Gutenberg.
“Samson Technology”, Derby: Philistines beware

“ADT”, Derby: hexagons and tax barons

"ADT" burglar alarm, Derby • I've just emerged from a bout of research on my selection of "Modernist" alarm boxes – Modern, ADT, Thorn, Chubb, Capstan, Lander, Shorrock, Yale – and my head is spinning. I'd chosen them purely on design grounds, but with the exception of Capstan, they form a mind-boggling web of company takeovers, at least proving my theory that these stylish designs were created for the big boys. Security is a serious business, and this is globalism in action: the major firms are like a bunch of ever-larger Pac-Men chomping each other up from the 1900s to the present day, merging, PLC-ing and reverse-takeovering along the way, and led by figures including an emigrée philanthropist, a millionaire professor, a tax-dodging Baron, and a Croesus-salaried CEO currently in jail. Grandaddy of them all is ADT, an American firm formed in 1874, when a bunch of telegraph delivery firms incorporated as the American District Telegraph Company. By the 1960s they were a huge public concern, already operating in Britain, and in 1984 they were taken over by the Hawley Group, an acquisition vehicle run by business mogul Michael Ashcroft – aka controversial Baron Ashcroft of Belize, who was treasurer of the Conservative party while being non-domiciled in Britain and paying no UK tax. He renamed the company ADT Security Systems, registered it in tax haven Bermuda, and in 1997 sold it on to globalcorp Tyco (who make undersea cables and the like), via a reverse-takeover which gave Tyco Bermudan tax status too. At this point Tyco absorbed Modern Alarms and Thorn, and the all-conquering ADT we see here was born. Ashcroft bowed out, and in stepped CEO Leonard Kozlowski, who after trousering $81m in dodgy bonuses – some of which he allegedly spent on $6,000 shower curtains and an ice-sculpture of Michelangelo's David pissing vodka – ended up in jail from 2005 till 2022. I'm sure that nowadays everyone at Tyco and ADT is lovely and kind, and doesn't evade tax or have weeing ice-sculptures. But that's not what I'm really interested in: before I started learning all this, all I cared about was the yellow hexagonal box. So, to get back to the important stuff, it was designed by Colin Marsh for Modern Alarms to replace the round Eurobell featured yesterday, and taken on by ADT when they bought up Modern. ADT have used this so-called "nut" ever since, and they now have branches in over 50 countries, millions of customers, revenues in the billions, and – apparently – a 45 year contract to maintain the security of the British and American governments (expires 2034, so ex-CEO Len will be out of chokey by then). I don't know who Colin Marsh is, but he's obviously a talented designer: it would be nice to think he was getting a royalty for each of his ubiquitous yellow boxes. But given the lack of justice in the world – even the burglar alarm world – he probably isn't. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“ADT”, Derby: hexagons and tax barons

“Liberty”, Derby: “Noooooo!”

Liberty burglar alarm Derby 2010"Liberty Security" burglar alarm, Derby • To unpack the notions of "Liberty" and "Security" presented here would require more philosophical knowledge than I possess. I prefer to think of this Statue of Liberty not as the quintessential symbol of freedom presumably intended, but as the toppled post-armageddon wreck at the end of Planet of the Apes. Preferably with Homer (Simpson) prostrate before it, wailing "Noooooooooooo!" • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South Liberty burglar alarm Derby 2010
“Liberty”, Derby: “Noooooo!”

“Bulldog”, Derby: logo as abstract leg wound?

"Bulldog" burglar alarm, Derby, 2010 • Somehow, you feel the designer was not entirely in tune with the image that the word "Bulldog" normally conveys. With its popular "initial as logo" device and cheesy sci-fi-style fonts, this alarm's stickered livery resembles the cuff of a jaunty sports sock rather than a fierce beast. Maybe the way the B is formed by an absence of ink represents the chunk of flesh the bulldog will remove from an unwise intruder's leg, and the buzzing red-and-white stripes the raw blood and bone that will result. But I think not. It's on nice bricks, though: and I can recommend Derby as a repository of many fine historical buildings. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Bulldog”, Derby: logo as abstract leg wound?