When was the first security camera invented?

Some evidence points to the first security camera being invented in 1927 by Russian inventor Leon Thermin renowned for his passion for physics and music, who also invented other forms of surveillance devices such as audio bugs. Some believe that the invention was used to monitor the Kremlin building in Moscow, Russia. 

However, it is difficult to place an exact date on when the first security camera was invented, as like with many inventions, the first security camera would have been used by the government and thus would be classified information. Unfortunately, because of this, most of Leon Theremins’ military and government inventions are classified and it isn’t fully clear whether he invented the first security camera or if another country’s government did before him.

The First, recorded, Security camera to be invented

In 1942, in nazi-controlled Germany, the government used the first widely-accepted closed-circuit television system. Invented by Walter Bruch, this german security camera system was used by the military to observe rocket launches at the Peenemunde Airfield from a safe distance. This security camera system was a primitive invention compared today’s standards; it was quite bulky and could only be watched live as there was no recording device.

The first Security camera that was invented for public use.

It wasn’t until 1949 that the American company, Vericon, invented the first security camera that was available outside of military and government operations. At first, this device was also unable to record, but in 1951 the first video tape recorder was invented, and Vericon released the VR-1000, a security camera system capable of recording.

Unfortunately, Vericon’s device was quite impractical for the mass public to use; it was very large, the size of a table, and was very expensive. Because of this, the device was only used by commercial businesses and the very wealthy, who had the space and the money to afford the 50,000 dollar price tag.  

The First Security camera System invented for home-use

In 1969, the video cassette was invented. In contrast to the traditional magnetic reels that were previously used, the cassette was much smaller and far more practical for smaller spaces. In the same year, Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband applied for a United States patent for a surveillance system that would monitor who was at the front door. This was the first security camera system to be invented and designed specifically for home use.

The Modern day security camera

As technology has advanced over the years, so too have security cameras. Here are some of the biggest milestones that contributed to the evolution of security cameras.

  • 1987: Kodak released several digital cameras and other devices.
  • 1993: The Ampex DCT was invented, the first video compression device reducing the space needed to store video footage. 
  • Mid-90’s: Digital multiplexers were developed so that you could record footage from multiple security camera devices with just one DVR.
  • 1996: The first Internet Protocol or IP camera was invented, Axis NetEye 200, capable of transmitting data wirelessly, revolutionising security cameras as we know them today.