MILWAUKEE - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has announced its designation of the Johnson Controls Inc. automatic temperature control system as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. The invention of the first reliable and economical multi-zone temperature control system in 1895 by Johnson Controls founder Warren S. Johnson led to the growth of the company and helped launch the modern building controls industry.

S. Allan Johnson, great-grandson of the inventor, attended the event announcing the honor, along with more than 200 Johnson Controls employees, retirees, and customers.

“ASME is pleased to honor an invention that changed the world in the late 1800s and which still helps companies and organizations keep their buildings comfortable and energy-efficient more than 100 years later,” said J. Lawrence Lee, Ph.D., P.E., chair of the ASME History & Heritage Committee.

Johnson Controls has grown to become the largest public corporation headquartered in Wisconsin. The company continues to be a leader in the building controls and HVAC equipment industry, though it long ago also diversified into the automotive industry through its automotive experience (seats and interior systems) and power solutions (automotive batteries) divisions.

“The technology of the 1890s has come a long way since they had to bang on the pipes to alert custodial staff that it was too hot or too cold. Professor Johnson’s invention has evolved into the modern controls industry, including refrigeration, fire, and security systems for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings,” said C. David Myers, president, building efficiency, Johnson Controls. “Our employees worldwide share my pride in accepting this honor.”

The event featured the unveiling of a bronze landmark plaque that is being mounted on the Johnson Controls building efficiency headquarters, the Brengel Technology Center at 507 E. Michigan Street, Milwaukee. The facility, one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®)-certified in the world, now also includes a showcase of actual components from an 1895-era Johnson Controls system.

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Publication date:06/02/2008