What If: Fire Alarms

In this thread, hypothetical changes in the history of the fire alarm field will be discussed. While it might be close to impossible to know for sure how such hypotheticals might turn out, taking effort to make sure the subsequent events could logically happen would be appreciated.

To start off, I present the following question: What if Gamewell stayed part of the Cerberus group to this day?

From catalogs Robert has posted, Gamewell seemingly was part of the Cerberus group starting around 1984 edit:1982 to, and according to a now defunct history page, was purchased by Honeywell in 2003. I could not find any information on when they left the group some time before or after Cerberus Pyrotronics was bought by Siemens, or if Honeywell purchased Gamewell from Siemens.

We also know that Cerberus Pyrotronics has rebranded the Century series of pulls, which most likely happened during that time.

Given that a lot of Gamewell’s panels during that time were rebranded Cerberus Pyrotronics panels [1] [2], the latter rebranding the former’s pull stations, and that Siemens kept around the Faraday name for a while after purchasing it makes it hard to tell whether the Gamewell name would be kept around because it’s recognizable, or whether it would be slowly folded into the Siemens name like Cerberus Pyrotronics and Faraday.

I looked at Cerberus’s pre-merger web site on wayback machine. And I could find any information about those rebranded centuries

And what would it be like if notifier was never bought out by pitway corp. and emhart still owned them to this day?

What if mechanical horns still existed today?

Good question! That actually made me do a bit of research.

Emhart Corporation purchased NOTIFIER in 1968 and then sold it to Pittway Corporation in 1987. [1] Later on in 1989, Emhart Coporation merged with Black & Decker Corporation to avoid a takeover by a New York investment group.[2] Then in 2010, Stanley Works and Black & Decker merged to become Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.[3] Given the wide variety of products that the companies sold before and after the merger, it is possible that Notifier could still be around, had Pittway not purchased it from Pittway before the merger.

That would be quite unlikely considering how much more current draw mechanical horns take compared to electronic horns. Customers wouldn’t like the fact they have to pay for more boosters to handle more alarms, and would stick to electronic to keep costs down. Another problem is that nowadays, you need T3 in most scenarios. So either the horns would need circuitry to allow them to code themselves to T3, flash the strobe and allow for sync, or you would need to run four wires instead of two. Overall, mechanical horns would almost never be chosen over electronic horns unless the application makes mechanical horns more desirable.

Would notifier only make conventional fire systems or would emhart come up with there own addressable protocol

Oh they would for sure have made their own addressable protocol. Either that or they’d rebadge another company’s stuff, kind of like hot Mircom rebadged Honeywell’s protocol for a while

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I wonder what it would be like if the gamewell century was still produced


What would have changed if Cerberus Pyrotronics (plus Gamewell, Landis and Gyr, and Faraday) was bought by the Pittway Corporation instead of Siemens?

Probably nothing much different. Not really a big enough difference in history to predict what might have happened

First off, I’d like to welcome you back to the forums! As for your question, Cerberus Pyrotronics bought Faraday in 1995, and Siemens Cerberus Pyrotroncs in 1998. Honeywell purchased Pittway in 2000. There would be a small gap between for the purchase to happen. However, given how many companies each had, it might have caused the FTC to get involved and stop it. Either way, Gamewell would end up owned by Honeywell, but might manufacture the Cerberus style devices instead of the System Sensor style devices Gamewell-FCI does today.

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What would it be like if break-glass callpoints instead of pull stations were widely used in North America?

I was recently discussing a similar question on the topic of dead brands with a fellow enthusiast. What would Standard Electric Time’s product line look like if the company was still around today? Given that this brand was phased out at a time when fire alarm systems were much different from those of today, I find it tricky to imagine how their products would have evolved in the intervening decades. Similarly, I wonder what manufacturers like Mirtone or Couch would be doing today if they still existed. There seems to be pattern as other brands from the past have disappeared in a similar manner: they were acquired either by a competitor or a larger conglomerate that ended up killing off the brand.


Here’s mine, what would the Fire Alarm world look today if we had Federal Signal, Space Age electronics, and Faraday still around as AV manufacturers with System Sensor, Wheelock and Gentex.


I can say for Mirtone. They would just rebrand EST panels. Probably rebrand the IO,EST3 and EST4. They would be essentially a second EST. I don’t know too much on Couch but I bet they would still make the chevrons under there name.

Federal Signal is good at producing sirens used for disaster prevention / air-raid defense / emergency vehicles… Maybe there’ll be some tiny sirens designed for FA systems - there might even be waterflow-powered ones, working as an alternative of water motor sprinkler gongs.

They would also rebrand the siga smokes, heats,dual sensor detectors and the siga manual addressable pull stations

I should have mentioned that I was thinking of what Mirtone would be had it remained an independent company to this day. Prior to being acquired by General Signal in 1989, Mirtone designed and manufactured its own products; it seems, however, that General Signal quickly phased out Mirtone’s products in favour of rebranding existing Edwards products.

If we take the GS acquisition into account, however, I definitely agree that Mirtone’s product line would consist of products similar to those being sold by Edwards. In fact, it seems that the Kidde Engineered Systems product line is the direct successor to the Mirtone product line; the Mirtone name was phased out in favour of the Vigilant brand in the mid 2000s which, in turn, was replaced with the Kidde brand a few years ago. Therefore, if the Mirtone name was still around today, it would likely appear on the same products as the ones currently being sold by Kidde.

Well, I have a friend who went to a private school that had Federal Signal Model As. That system is gone and replaced with Advances, the alarm that replaces everything.

Eww, gross, advances.

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Classics are better by far