ADT Company History
When the American District Telegraph (ADT) Company was formed in 1874, its founders had little idea that the messaging and signaling company would evolve into North America’s largest single provider of electronic security services.
Today, ADT Security helps protect more than 6 million commercial, government and residential customers, including 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies, 72 of the nation’s airports, and 80 percent of the country’s top retailers. And it’s no surprise. ADT pioneered the development of security services in America, and its reputation as a leader in home and business protection remains solid.
Check out the timeline below to learn more about the history of ADT Security.
1874 – American District Telegraph (ADT) is formed using the technologies of Samuel F. B. Morse and Alfred Vail – the telegraph. It is a precursor to the current day ADT.
1880s – Messaging is ADT’s primary function. Call Boxes – electronic signal devices – are invented and allow ADT to develop its messaging service into an interactive communication system between night watchmen and police and fire officials.
1890s – Call Box technology advances and multi-signal electric protection systems allow watchmen to notify ADT offices of a building’s security at scheduled times each night. The electric signal service is available in 50 towns and messenger services are available at more than 500 locations.
1901 – ADT is incorporated as a subsidiary of Western Union. Each of ADT’s 57 district companies grew independently with varying systems, equipment and operating practices. The newly-formed company begins to remedy this problem by separating the messenger service and signal business. The signal business grows into the modern day ADT.
1909 – Western Union is acquired by AT&T changing the company’s organizational structure. ADT now concentrates solely on the signal business.
1910-1930 – Technical advancements contribute to the growth of ADT and the company invests heavily in its burglar, holdup and fire alarm systems. ADT security becomes a leader in its field.
War Years – The war’s depletion of domestic manpower bolsters the need for automatic signals to notify authorities of fires and break-ins. Due to ADT’s integrated systems and services, the company is in a natural position to create the first automated alarm system. ADT develops the Teletherm automatic fire detection system and the Telewave automatic intrusion system.
1969 – ADT becomes a publicly-owned company by listing its stock on the New York Stock Exchange.
1970s – Technology development is taking off in America and ADT is in the front of the pack. The company unveils its first solid-state device and the installation of the first large, two-way multiplex proprietary system. Following these advancements is the ADT automated Central Station – a precursor to today’s integrated Customer Monitoring Center network.
1974 – ADT celebrates is 100th birthday. The old Call Boxes are gone and sophisticated micro-computer-based security systems are in place.
1980s – ADT customers of the 1980s witness the debut of the Unimode fire system, the CentraScan computer-based security system, and the Safewatch residential system. ADT also officially introduces central station monitoring, which becomes the heart of its business.
1987 – ADT is purchased by the Hawley Group, Ltd. and renamed ADT Security Systems, Inc. The U.S. headquarters are moved from New York, N.Y. to Parsippany, N.J.
Early 1990s – The nineties ushered in such groundbreaking product lines as the wireless Safewatch system, the integrated Focus system, and a variety of access control and closed circuit television products.
Mid 1990s – ADT hits a milestone when it welcomes its 1 millionth customer. In 1996, the company changes its name to ADT Security Services, Inc., and relocates to Boca Raton, Fla.
1998 – ADT is acquired by Tyco International Ltd. The company’s residential and commercial coverage now reaches into 230 major U.S. markets.
2009 – ADT Security maintains its commitment to providing the most advanced security services and unrivaled customer service.