Photo identification marries with electronic access controls in the Ruscard from Rusco Electronic Systems.

In the early 1970s, photo identification was a part of some electronic access control systems while others marketed so-called portable photo ID systems using Polaroid film. The March 1973 issue of Security magazine covered more electronics as compared to the emphasis on investigations and security officers less than a decade before.

Rusco Electronic Systems was showing off its Ruscard, what the pioneering firm was calling a door key with a picture. The card was employed at installations for AT&T, GE, Litton, GTE Data, Polaroid, the 1st National Bank of Boston, Raytheon and Swissair. Using “invisibly coded electronic memory cores,” the photo ID cards could be canceled immediately. Rusco said their canceled cards did not reduce system capacity compared to their competitors’ products, which used up their capacity when cards were lost, stolen or terminated.

Electro-Photo Systems went another way with its TRI-D portable identification system. It included a camera, photo die cutter and heat/ pressure laminator. An internal “baffle” let the operator take two photos separately or two identical photos simultaneously. Laminating pouches of varying sizes were available.

Meanwhile, ADT Security Systems was targeting at hotel security executives with its Cardgard system, a disposable plastic card that, ADT claimed, “costs pennies, cuts housekeeping costs and virtually eliminates the possibility of a burglar entering guest rooms with lost or stolen keys.”

The International Security Conference that year also stressed information for market niches with retail, bank and freight security workshops. In a groundbreaking effort, Security first published a study by Roger Griffen of Commercial Service Systems that analyzed shoplifting apprehensions at 632 supermarkets and drug stores. Some results were routine; nearly half of apprehensions were of people aged 12 to 29 years old, while most shoplifters hid their booty in a purse, pocket or under their clothes. Some results were surprising; there was little difference in the sex of the shoplifter as compared to a perception by some that retail theft was a “female problem.”

Security also made waves with an article that provided an insider’s view of the Underwriter Laboratories test of basic performance and construction requirements of surveillance cameras. The test included endurance, noise, jarring, dust, rain and temperature, among others. In separate coverage, the Cohu 4500 series camera was featured in an advertisement that said the unit could operate at 100,000 feet or under 50 feet of water. Cost? A mere $2,300 (approximately $9,531 today) per camera.