Skip to content

Oxford

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

Titan, Oxford: resonant

Titan "Titan" burglar alarm, Oxford • Giant Greek god aka the largest moon of Saturn – a nice resonant burglar alarm name for the profs of Oxford. • Spotted: Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
Titan, Oxford: resonant

Tcom, Oxford: abbreviation

Tcom "Tcom" burglar alarm, Oxford • An abbreviation for telecom, geddit? And an unexplained acronym, if it stands for anything else. • Spotted: New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
Tcom, Oxford: abbreviation

NSIN, Oxford: catchy

Nationwide Security Installation Network "Nationwide Security Installation Network" burglar alarm, Oxford • Catchy acronym, not. I wonder if it actually was nationwide? I daresay someone will tell me. • Spotted: Cornmarket, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
NSIN, Oxford: catchy

“Executive”, Oxford: flunkey

Executive Alarms Oxford "Executive Alarms Oxford" burglar alarm, Oxford • Ah, executive - that all-purpose word intended to suggest high-powered business excellence, but which actually just means someone who does things, a functionary. As an adjective, it's usually added to bump up the price of something essentially crap which only a working flunkey would need, to elevate it one rung up the aspiration ladder - a polyester suit, say, or an Alan Partridge-style motel suite. Not that I'm suggesting this sounder is crap - it does boast a Ziggy Stardust-style lightning flash, after all. • Spotted: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Executive”, Oxford: flunkey

“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

“Isis”, Oxford: posh

"Isis Security Systems" burglar alarm, Oxford • Oxford's other famous river is the Isis (a posh name for the Thames), which like the Cherwell gives its name to a long-running student magazine. Isis was also an Egyptian goddess, and this sounder piles on the references with the visual pun of a startled-looking eye. I reckon that's a CR logo underneath it, another brand that's common in the town. • Spotted: Cornmarket, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East Above: fops punting on the Thames, aka the Isis, at Oxford
“Isis”, Oxford: posh

“Cherwell”, Oxford: apocalyptic

"Cherwell Fire and Security" burglar alarm, Oxford • I love this: a "W" made of fire, leaping apocalyptically from a pool of soundwaves. Pronounced "Churwell", the Cherwell is one of Oxford's two famous rivers, and also lends its name to a venerable student newspaper (these days, a website). The other famous river? That's tomorrow. • Spotted: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East Above: punt rollers (to help foppish punters avoid the weir) on the Cherwell at Oxford
“Cherwell”, Oxford: apocalyptic

“Smiths Security Services”, Oxford: miserablist

"Smiths Security Services" burglar alarm, Oxford • I love the idea of The Smiths running a security firm – it's pure Stella Street. Imagine calling up the engineer about a faulty alarm, only to find floppy-haired poetry-spouting miserablist Morrissey turning up on your doorstep, clad in a giant blouse and waving a bunch of droopy gladioli. Well, it amuses me, anyway. • Spotted: Mansfield Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East Miserablist burglar alarm engineers The Smiths
“Smiths Security Services”, Oxford: miserablist

“Berkeley Guard”, Oxford: well posh

"Berkeley Guard" burglar alarm, Oxford • Berkeley has connotations of something really rich, doesn't it? Like a hedge fund, or a property portfolio. So I looked up Berkeley Guard on the internet, and lo and behold, the company was "founded in 1982 by Julian Berkeley, second son of Sir Lennox Berkeley, musician and composer" – proving yet again that there are quite a lot of Sirs in burglar alarm land, even if only peripherally. Incidentally, Julian's brother Michael presents the Sunday morning show Private Passions (a kind of upmarket an upmarket Desert Island Discs) on Radio 3 – so a posh burglar alarm indeed. • Spotted: Queen Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Berkeley Guard”, Oxford: well posh

“Rampart”, Oxford: battlement, surely?

"Rampart" burglar alarm, Oxford • This is more like it, a Rampart showing actual ramparts. Although to be pedantic about it, these look more like battlements or crenellations (aka the blocky bits on the top of castles through which to shoot arrows) whereas ramparts are defensive walls. This looks like quite a recent burglar alarm, but I can't find Rampart on the internet except on business listing sites – usually a sign that a firm doesn't trade any more. • Spotted: Park End Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Rampart”, Oxford: battlement, surely?

“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

"Safeguard Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • I was wading grumpily through Oxford's irritating throngs of meandering coach parties and pillocks on pushbikes, when this unusual alarm, on the side of a massive brutalist building next to the tacky remains of an actual castle, cheered me up a bit. It offers triple security: a shield, a fortress and a portcullis – plus a suggestion of safety by day and night, a towering dungeon, and even possibly a nod to the 2-Tone ska movement of the early 1980s (in my tortured imagination, anyway). Turns out Safeguard Alarms are a genuine family-run firm, founded in 1969 – nice logo! • Spotted: New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

"Amega Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • These severed, supplicating hands look like they're worshipping rays of light, or catching a shower, but actually they're cradling a faded letter A. It belongs to Oxford-based Amega, a 25-year-old firm whose more recent boxes, featuring the same design, can be seen here. I've also come across handless sounders bearing the very similar name Amiga – as in the legendary 1980s computer – but I assume that's a completely different company. • Spotted: Park End Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

“Civic Alarms”, Oxford: 1970s classic

"Civic Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • I like the way the red circle here suggests a "stop" sign, but also echoes the red bulb above it. It's just one of many differently-designed Civic alarms from various areas and eras I've come across, but I don't know if they are all the same firm. This was found on the olde-worlde covered market in Oxford town centre, and I saw various newer examples around town too, so I assume it's this Oxfordshire firm. But whether it's also the 1972-founded Civic Security whose website is here, I have no idea. The geometric slab-serif font is Rockwell (or something similar), which is a classic 1970s favourite, so it's a possibility. • Spotted: Covered Market, High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Civic Alarms”, Oxford: 1970s classic

“OxLox Alarm Systems”, Oxford: baton sounder

"OxLox Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, Oxford • Today I start a brief run of what, until someone tells me their proper name, I can only call "baton" sounders – these long, slim, rather elegant boxes, with a flat circular bulb at the top. From the ancient phone numbers it's clear they are vintage, and they generally sport interesting graphics. This one, OxLox, is superb: it looks like a piece of art typography, or concrete poetry, and namechecks a bizarre anglo-jewish food combination – ox (as in ox cheek or ox tail) and lox (as in the cured salmon you get in bagels). In fact it's a clever play on "Oxford Locks", for an Oxfordshire firm that is no more. (Update: a commenter, below, says they do still exist but with a different phone number.) • Spotted: George Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“OxLox Alarm Systems”, Oxford: baton sounder