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For over 140 years – from ADT messengers and call box operators to automated homes and businesses – we’ve made protecting and connecting the centerpiece of what we do. Today, our mission remains the same – creating customers for life.
1874 - 1890
Most people don’t like to talk about age, but we’re proud of ours! Just two years before the United States celebrated its first centennial, ADT was founded, not as a security company, but as a telegraph company. Surprising – we know! The American District Telegraph Company was in the business of providing a great service to its customers, just as it is nearly 140 years later as ADT.
Before leading the way in the electronic security industry and moving headquarters to Florida, we began in Baltimore, MD, embracing the most advanced communications technology of the 1800s. While they didn’t have instant messaging back then, they had something similar. A telegraph system! This form of communication was more popular than carrier pigeons in the 1870s because it was faster and more reliable. A hand-written message was provided to a telegraph company from the sender. These messages were transmitted over telegraph lines to a receiving telegraph company at another location. They then decoded, transcribed, and hand delivered the message to the recipient.
Much like the technology of today, though not quite as fast, there was constant change in the late 1800s. ADT embraced the change by welcoming the call box. With this improved system, we were well on our way to expanding our protection services portfolio. Specific signals could be transmitted by a watchman from a call box to a district office, alerting us to the particular need of a customer. For example, customers could request the assistance of the police, fire department, doctor, coach, and more. We followed through, providing customers with the service they needed.
1891 - 1909
As a telegraph company, we meant business, and the ADT Messenger Boys were proof of this. Promptness, diligence, and speed were important. In cities across the country, ADT Messengers could be seen running from building to building, relaying customers’ messages. "Running" being the key word – they were allowed no more than 1.5 minutes per street block and less than 2 minutes in a customer’s building!
We pride ourselves on being able to offer you ADT 24 Hour Alarm Monitoring Service – countrywide we have eight Customer Monitoring Centers (CMC) with 3,000+ employees keeping guard 24/7. Our first CMC came in the form of watchmen’s signal timers which were monitored in an ADT central office. We were just doing what we do best – making sure the people and things you value most are safe.
Did you know ADT’s first president was a colonel in the United States military? With humble beginnings serving as a messenger boy and working his way up to president of Western Union and ADT simultaneously, Colonel Robert C. Clowry led the company for eight years.
ADT and Western Union came under the control of AT&T, thus beginning our transition to the signal business, which was the forerunner of ADT Security Services.
1920 - 1969
With the invention of cars our telegraph services were "far more effective than before," said a customer during the early years of the automobile. Our drivers had to be more alert though, making way for horses and avoiding dogs in the streets.
We really got going in the 1940s when we pioneered progressive ADT-branded technological developments, such as the Teletherm automatic fire detection system, Telewave automatic intrusion system, and ultrasonic burglar alarm!
1969 was a big year for us as we became a publically owned company. President at the time, Lawrence J. O’Brien, bought the first 100 shares of ADT stock on the New York Stock Exchange!
1970 - 1997
Happy Birthday, ADT! We made it through the invention of the automobile, the sinking of Titanic, the Great Depression, silent films, two world wars, and Woodstock, making it to 100 years of protecting what matters most to our customers.
The Safewatch residential system was introduced, leading into a solid decade of product announcements, including ADT Focus, a security technology for commercial applications; Unimode fire system; and CentreScan, a computer-based proprietary security system.
The American District Telegraph name is no more. We were approved by our shareholders to change our corporate name to ADT Security Systems, Inc.
We thought we reached a milestone in 1974, but this year may have topped that. We added more than 180,000 new residential systems and surpassed one million customers!
ADT was purchased by Tyco International.
2001 - 2011
Talk about staying ahead of the times – we were the first security company to offer a Web-enabled home security system, ADT Safewatch iCenter!
Welcome ADT Companion Services’ new system! It was understood that people were living longer than ever before, and we wanted to make sure they could live comfortably and safely in their homes for as long as possible.
Have a smartphone? We know you do! That’s why we launched ADT Pulse® Interactive Solutions in 2010. ADT Pulse makes it possible for people with any compatible smartphone or laptop to remotely access and control not only a home security system, but several applications including lighting, climate control, small appliances and much more, all in real-time.
ADT’s parent company, Tyco International, announces that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a plan to separate the company into three independent, publicly traded companies. The standalone ADT North America residential business will be the leading provider of security and fire alarm systems in North America, serving more than 6 million residential homes and small businesses.
2012 - Present
ADT completes its separation, preparing to spinoff from Tyco International. ADT starts the new fiscal year by debuting as an independent public company and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ADT).
ADT enhances its customer service experience and product portfolio by merging with Protection 1 under the leadership of CEO Timothy J. Whall. The combined company serves 8 million customers through its 20,000 employees in nearly 300 locations throughout the US and Canada.
Our home security systems are best known for monitoring against burglary and fire, but we also offer CO monitoring and flood detection, which can help with storm preparedness thanks to a water detection sensor.
Beyond our basic security, you should also look into our ADT Pulse® products. These include controls for lights, locks, live video, as well as remote temperature control, all accessible from our app.
As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Protect your home as smartly as you would your business with ADT home security. All of our wireless home security systems provide the basics: burglary prevention, carbon monoxide detectors, fire protection services and more.
Our range of home automation systems, ADT Pulse®, can be extended to include remote access, home energy management tools and home video surveillance, to give you more smart ways of keeping your home safe, comfortable and running energy-efficiently.
As a homeowner, you want a system designed for your needs. Protect your business as smartly as you would your home with ADT business security. All of our business security systems provide the basics: theft prevention, a business alarm system, remote access, business video surveillance and more.
The ADT Difference provides you with the top business automation services that will keep your business safe, smart and efficient.
Learn more about protecting your home with home security tips, or more about ADT in particular, using our home security resources. Discover how all of our systems account for home security basics like emergency preparedness, or see our home automation systems in action by watching our ADT Pulse® videos. Feel free to browse through our home automation resources page as well.
We also offer home health resources for homeowners with additional family safety concerns as part of our ADT Health service.
ADT is the most trusted security company in the industry. Keeping you safe is our business. But don’t take our word for it; watch the ADT Lifesaver Testimonial Videos to hear real stories from real people who’ve had their lives and homes saved by ADT. Additionally, check out our ADT Pulse® app downloads to see exactly what technology we offer in terms of home safety. Our equipment is easy to use, but should any questions arise, you can download our ADT security manuals, check the ADT security FAQs page, or contact ADT directly. We keep your home secure 24/7 and aim to provide you with round-the-clock support as well through ADT customer service.
ADT home security is the most established and trusted in the industry. For over 140 years, we’ve made protecting and connecting the centerpiece of what we do.
We consider this commitment an ADT responsibility that goes into all of our home security systems, but also goes beyond that to placing a high value on ADT sustainability as well.
Even a brief look at our ADT history tells you a great deal about ADT, and further demonstrates our experience, expertise and values. These qualities are pervasive in our company. Our ADT directors and ADT corporate leadership are committed to upholding the ADT code of conduct and ADT ethics in everything that we do.