John Potthast was the first employee of SCI Alarm, South Bend, Ind. He recently retired as the company’s vice president of operations, but not before leaving a big history lesson behind for the company’s next generation of security experts. This photo gallery shows 37 devices commonly used in the 1960s, 70s and 80s that comprise SCI Alarm’s new “museum” collection. The devices were collected by the company throughout its 32 years in operation as its customers upgraded old systems.
“My husband and I started the company in 1981. John was our first and for a while our only employee,” said Karen Kemp, executive vice president of SCI Alarm. Kemp adds that most of the company’s employees have been with the company for many years. With Potthast’s retirement, the company will be looking for the next generation of alarm experts to get ready for the next 30 years.
The device museum that is now on display at the company’s main reception area in its headquarters is a constant reminder of how much security has changed over the years, Potthast and Kemp note.
“The reason we did the display,” Potthast comments, “is that these are items we collected in boxes for years. We decided that as the old generation leaves and the new takes over, it would be fun to organize and display them.”
The relics themselves have been painstakingly collected from customer’s systems as they’ve needed to be upgraded throughout the company’s 32 years. Some of them were found by Potthast himself, who says the process of cataloguing and organizing the now obsolete devices brought back good memories from his career. He recalls pulling the Robotguard CPU with mechanical telephone dialer (No. 2 in the photo gallery) sometime around 1985 or 1986.