When Were Car Alarms Invented? (Not What You Think)

Nearly every new car has a car alarm, and some of them have pretty fancy systems. However, the car alarm had to be invented at some point, and many are unaware of when they came about.

Surprisingly, the car alarm was rather late to the scene. In fact, cars were around for quite a while before they started being equipped with alarms. So, when were car alarms invented? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!

When Were Car Alarms Invented?

Supposedly, the first car alarm was invented by a prisoner from Denver in 1913, and his drawings somehow ended up in the local newspaper. This alarm was much different from the modern ones, though, as it needed to be manually armed and was attached to the crank on the engine. However, this design was never mass produced.

To discover the history of car alarms and when they actually became popular, keep reading below for more interesting facts!

When Did Car Alarms Become Popular?

The first car alarm was developed over 100 years ago, and looks quite similar to the alarms that are utilized today. However, they do not have some of the advanced features that other alarms currently possess.

These alarms did not become fully widespread until the ‘60s or ‘70s. During this period, people would have been much more likely to rush towards a car with the alarm going off, but today that is less common.

In the beginning, car alarms were new and therefore people were often quite startled by them. Thieves didn’t know how to counteract them, either. However, over time, people became used to the sound, and they now largely ignore them.

As well, thieves have learned how to get around car alarms, meaning they are not very helpful today, despite the fact that they are still used in just about every car around.

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Do Old Cars Have Alarms?

Do Old Cars Have Alarms

While most modern cars have factory security systems installed, older cars do not. Therefore, they have remained largely unprotected since they were built. Today, many of these cars are quite expensive and valuable, therefore, you probably want to consider protecting them.

In fact, you should likely overhaul your older car’s door lock as well. In addition to being worn out, older locks aren’t all that effective. Therefore, you will need to replace it with a new one from the manufacturer (as these have the same cut as your car) and contact a locksmith.

You can replace your car’s glass with high-security glass, which will prevent the car windows from being broken. However, this can be expensive and won’t always have a classical look, so we only recommend it if you have lots of car break-ins in your area. For safer areas, it probably isn’t needed.

Furthermore, you’ll likely want to install an aftermarket car alarm system. Car alarms are generally considered to be the most important car security measure, though they may not actually work very well.

Just in case your car does get stolen, you can purchase a GPS car tracker to ensure that you can track your car back down. These are actually quite expensive, though many of them require subscriptions of some sort.

Who Invented Car Alarms?

Car alarms have come a long way from the beginning. Originally, George Evans and E. B. Birkenbeuel patented a device that was specifically designed to send out a signal if someone unauthorized tried to move the car.

However, this device wasn’t completely like the alarms we have today. Instead, it required that anyone starting the car enter a three-digit code. If you got it wrong or tried to start the car without it, electricity was automatically diverted to the horn, making it go off. This was called an “automobile theft preventer.”

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Of course, at this time, cars were still somewhat uncommon and car alarms would have been a rare thing. Nowadays, nearly everyone has a car, and their alarms contribute significantly to noise pollution.

Of course, after that, car alarms evolved to sound without the need for a three-digit code, and are simply automatic.

Does Every Car Have a Car Alarm?

Does Every Car Have a Car Alarm? 

Practically all modern cars come with an alarm of some sort. In many cases, this is a simple sensor trigger, which can detect when a door or window is opened while the car is locked.

However, not all cars have the advanced systems that we have previously discussed. Sensors that can detect when a window is broken, for instance, are a bit rarer than your standard alarm. Typically, more expensive cars will offer these alarms, but your average car may not.

Older cars do not always have a security system. Only certain cars used to have these security measures. Plus, many older cars were created before the security system was available. Therefore, it only makes sense that they wouldn’t have one.

With that said, you can often install a basic alarm for a small fee, and you can also install more advanced safety features on cars that already have a basic security system.

Can a Car Set off a Car Alarm?

Sometimes something as minor as a cat jumping on the hood can set an alarm off, or something as common as a loud noise sounding.

However, this typically shouldn’t be happening, so if you get a false alarm on your car more than once, it may be a sign that the alarm is not working properly.

In this case, you may need to get some sensors updated or the system troubleshot by a mechanic. Sometimes, sensors can wear down and become overly sensitive over time. Other times, sensors can break or start going off for no reason at all.

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What Was the First Car with an Alarm?

What Was the First Car with an Alarm?

The car alarm evolved a lot over the years, therefore, there are lots of “first” cars, depending on what you count as the beginning of the modern alarm.

As well, these first alarms were not automatically included with the car. Instead, you had to purchase them separately. Therefore, no one knows when the first car alarm was actually used in a car or what car it was used in.

The first car alarm was supposedly invented in 1913, but it was not mass-produced. The drawing was only shown in a newspaper and was evidently from a Denver prisoner. This alarm would trigger whenever someone tried to hand-crank the engine.

However, the first mass-produced alarm wasn’t until 1954, when Victor Helman invented an alarm that sat in the car’s glove box, and had wires running to various parts of the car that would trigger if they were set off.

With that said, the first OEM car alarm was not produced until the 1970s by Chrysler, who offered it on all of its vehicles. Similarly, General Motors offered it on all Corvettes after 1972.

Of course, all of these earlier models were very easy to get around, so many people doubted their effectiveness.

To learn more about car alarms, you can also see our posts on whether or not a car alarm drains battery, what triggers a car alarm, and how long do car alarms go off for.


Car alarms were first invented by a Denver prisoner in 1913. However, his design was never widely used or mass-produced. Car alarms didn’t become popular until the 60s and 70s, though cars still did not come with them installed.

Instead, everyone had to purchase their alarm systems separately and have them installed later. Finally, OEM alarms were not widespread until the end of the 20th century.

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