MILWAUKEE - At an event celebrating more than a century of ingenuity and innovation, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) announced its designation of the Johnson Controls Inc. automatic temperature control system as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

According to ASME, the invention of the first reliable and economical multi-zone temperature control system in 1895 by Johnson Controls’ founder, Warren S. Johnson, led to massive growth at the company and helped launch the modern building controls industry. S. Allan Johnson, great-grandson of the inventor, attended the event, 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 that 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 and heritage committee.

The May 28 event featured the unveiling of a bronze landmark plaque that is being mounted on the Johnson Controls building efficiency headquarters, the Brengel Technology Center in Milwaukee. The facility, one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design®-certified in the world, now also includes a showcase of actual components from an 1895-era Johnson Controls system.

“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 ASME historic landmark designation is the eighth in Wisconsin and one of about 250 landmarks recognized worldwide.

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Publication date:06/09/2008