Industry News | April 29, 2009

A Look Back at 150 of Brink's Security

On May 5, 2009, Brink’s, Incorporated, one of the world’s most recognized symbols of security, is turning 150 years old.

Immortalized in popular lexicon, Brink’s is widely considered the most trusted name in secure logistics. "There are very few companies with the longevity and legacy of Brink’s,” says Michael Dan, president, CEO, and chairman of The Brink’s Company.

“Celebrating 150 years is a proud accomplishment and a true testament to the company’s strength and stability.”

A Fascinating History

Washington Perry Brink bought a horse-drawn wagon for less than $200 in 1859 and began transporting parcels, baggage and merchandise in Chicago, Illinois. Within a few years, Brink’s City Express, as the company was called then, became a trusted source for transporting large amounts of cash, a business niche that would define the company and serve as its foundation for many years.

By the turn of the century, Brink’s had grown from a one-horse operation to a thriving business with 85 carriages and 170 horses. However, Brink’s remained quick to embrace change, buying its first motorized delivery vehicle for $2,450 in 1904. After a particularly violent payroll robbery in 1917, Brink’s introduced into its fleet refurbished school buses with armored side panels and, by 1923, the company acquired its first fully armored car.

In 1925, the company brought to market its most important innovation to that point—the famous Two-Key Safe, which led to the now ubiquitous “Manager does not have key to safe” signs. A decade later, during The Great Depression, Brink’s place in history was indelibly etched in the public psyche when the mere presence of a Brink’s truck at an ailing bank could calm depositors and stave off bank runs.

When Brink’s celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1959, the company was one of only 57 firms established in the U.S. in 1859 still in business. Over the next few decades, Brink’s expanded throughout Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific, growing its suite of solutions to include global air courier services (Brink’s Global Services), over-the-road tractor trailer service, and security patrol and guarding.

Brink’s Today

Brink’s is the oldest and largest full-service provider of secure logistics solutions in the U.S. Leveraging advanced technology and state-of-the-art communications systems, Brink’s delivers retail solutions such as Brink’s CompuSafe Service, Brink’s iDeposit, and Brink’s Daily Credit to take cash from point of sale to collected funds faster and more efficiently than ever before.

“Since the early days, Brink’s innovations such as the famous Two-Key Safe, and later innovations such as Brink’s CompuSafe and Brink’s Daily Credit, have made the retail environment safer, more productive, and more profitable,” Dan says.

“Especially today, in an economic climate of razor-thin margins, tight credit, and increased criminal activity, these services play an instrumental role in helping retailers persevere.”

Anniversary Celebration

In honor of its sesquicentennial, Brink’s launched an anniversary Web site at that showcases never-before-seen-photos and little-known history about the company from its humble beginnings in Chicago to its global leadership today—a story that is as much about American history as it is about the company itself.

To further celebrate the occasion, Brink’s trucks around the world are sporting a specially designed anniversary emblem—a modified version of the Brink’s shield entwined in a celebratory ribbon proclaiming the company’s anniversary motto: People. Trust. Innovation.

In the United States, Brink’s will commemorate its May 5 anniversary a week early, on April 29, with an invitation-only event at the Brink’s Museum in Chicago—the city where it all began.

“Stability is more important than ever,” adds Dan.

“Merchants trust us to protect and help them manage their cash, which is obviously one of their most valuable—and most visible—assets. Over the next 150 years, we will continue to work with retailers to create powerful solutions to help them drive measurable improvements in their cash operations.”

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