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When CCTV Cameras Were Invented

CCTV cameras are everywhere now, they are a critical part of many industries and have helped to solve countless crimes. These cameras are so commonplace that many people don’t know when they were invented or why. This may seeming like a piece of trivia but it will also go to show you how far they…


CCTV cameras are everywhere now, they are a critical part of many industries and have helped to solve countless crimes. These cameras are so commonplace that many people don’t know when they were invented or why. This may seeming like a piece of trivia but it will also go to show you how far they have come.

It may first help to have a rough definition of CCTV cameras. That definition has changed over time but we will give you what we use today.

Closed circuit television (CCTV) is a technology that sends a signal via a local network to a specific set of monitors. It is typically not broadcast outside of a facility.

It All Started With The First Motion Picture Camera

Before CCTV cameras were possible it was necessary to invent the first motion picture camera. Thomas Edison and William Dickinson worked together to create the first motion picture camera in 1880. They didn’t demonstrate their first video until 1893. While the two inventors worked together to create the first motion picture camera, they did so from different angles.

The invention of these cameras set the framework for what would lead to the first CCTV cameras.

The First Miniature Movie Camera

During World War II the first miniature movie camera was produced. This camera could be held in one hand and utilized a winding device. The device was known as the Univex 8mm. These cameras were used as surveillance devices during the war to capture war time actions while being as discreet as possible. Up until this point, movie cameras had to be held over the shoulder or on a stand and were complex to operate.

The Univex 8mm and the smaller cameras that came short after it were proof that you could take recording technology and put it in a smaller platform. Around the world companies and governments were trying to make even smaller devices to enable better wartime surveillance. Like with many points in history, war spurred innovation.

German Rocket Development Spurs The First CCTV

Getting closer to the end of World War II, in 1942, Nazi scientists wanted a way to monitor their rockets during development, testing, and use. To do this they invented the first closed circuit television system. The very first CCTV systems were used on the V2 rocket project.

Later, during the Pacific War, the United States implemented a similar technology in order to monitor their development of atom bombs and to film tests. CCTV was crucial to the testing of these bombs as they were so destructive it was impossible to have a living person witness a detonation from close up.

Widespread Use Of CCTV Cameras

After World War II it didn’t take long for CCTV cameras to become more widespread. Governments were using them for a variety of purposes. One such implementation was 1960 use of temporary CCTV cameras to monitor Thai Royalty while they were in Britain. By 1965 news reports were starting to talk about how CCTV devices were being utilized by police to monitor a good number of places.

It wasn’t until 1969 that the first home CCTV system was released. A camera could be moved to a number of peep holes in a device and monitored on a television. This system, while innovative, did not really take off.

In the 1970s and 1980s, more private companies started to deploy CCTV systems to deter against theft and aid in solving crimes. Banks were among the first companies to start using these new systems but retail companies also followed suit. In the middle of this innovative era, the first low light cameras became a possibility thanks to microchips and charge-coupled devices.

The 1990s were when real innovation of CCTV took off. ATMs began to feature CCTV cameras in the early 1990s. The first nanny cam was released in 1992. In the mid 90’s IP cameras were released which eventually lead to the development of network cameras and web cameras.As you can see CCTV cameras have a rich history full of innovation. While they started as a wartime device, they have come a long way. Now they are used to prevent crime, enhance safety, and protect our children. It took major points in history and a lot of scientists to make CCTV systems what they are today.

Author: Daily Ting