Safe StoriesCategory

ADT Celebrates Milestone: 147 Years of Protecting and Connecting

2 min read

By: Bob Tucker, ADT Chief Storyteller and Corporate Historian

ADT Logo

To understand the ADT of tomorrow, it’s important to know the ADT of the past.

It was August 14, 1874 when ADT became incorporated in Baltimore.

Now in its 147th year, ADT has a rich heritage built on customer service and forged by change.

The iconic brand began as a telegraph delivery service.

While ADT stands for American District Telegraph, it was nicknamed “All Day Trotters” because thousands of ‘messenger boys’ would traverse the streets of major cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. They would arrive at a customer’s home with a telegraph in hand. After waiting a few minutes for the customer to reply, the messenger boys would then scurry back to the telegraph office for it to be sent.

A person driving a car  Description automatically generated with low confidence

When telephones replaced telegraphs, ADT pivoted to armed guard service to help protect commercial and government facilities.

By the 1920’s ADT ‘Roundsmen’ were in hundreds of buildings, making the rounds, and keeping a watchful eye for burglars, fires, or anything suspicious.

Over the decades, ADT continued to blaze new trails in technical advancements for security and fire protection.

With less manpower during World War II, ADT was in high demand for its automated services and the business grew significantly.

ADT Tech in Service Truck

Further expansion came in the 1950’s and by 1964, ADT had a majority of market share, leading to the company becoming public in 1969 and trading on the NYSE.

Surprisingly, it was not until the 1980’s that ADT started marketing residential security systems. Up until then, the technology was not affordable or attainable for mass markets.

In 1995, ADT became the first security company to surpass one million customers. Numerous acquisitions as well as solid growth have enabled ADT to currently serve over six million customers with support from 20,000 employees.

Today, ADT is the most trusted name in security and faces a bright future. While many things have changed over the decades, ADT remains true in its mission to help customers like Bobby and Tatum Nachtrab from Gardner, Kansas, to protect and connect.

ADT Customers