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Our History

In 1885, long before anyone talks about carbon footprints or climate change, Warren Johnson launches a company to explore new ways to harness and conserve precious energy resources. In doing so, he also launches a tradition of customer-focused innovation—a tradition that has inspired thousands of employees for more than 130 years and that continues to drive the success of Johnson Controls. Even before he founds the firm now known as Johnson Controls, Warren Johnson is the quintessential inventor. His pneumatic tower clocks, electric storage batteries, wireless telegraph business and steam-powered luxury cars and postal service trucks anticipate—and shape—the future.

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This Month in History
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Construction on Globe-Union's (later, Johnson Controls') corporate headquarters begins, October 22, 1965

Construction of Globe-Union's Administrative and Research Center in Glendale, Wisconsin began on October 22, 1965. The Center had a rather unorthodox ground breaking ceremony. Soil was loosened by a small explosive charge planted underground and detonated by energy supplied from a Globe Battery, and released through an electronic switch manufactured by Globe Union's Centralab division. Globe President C. O. Wanvig, Jr. and Wisconsin Governor Warren Knowles simultaneously threw the switches, causing a small explosive charge and sending a fountain of mud into the air. It wasn't just the ground breaking of this new facility that would prove to be novel. Charles H. Harper, the Center's architect and designer, noted that one of the most unusual design elements of the building called for the use of elevated-type floors under which all mechanical and utility services were located. Other unusual features included an iridescent reflecting pool containing 3,000,000 gallons of water to be used for cooling purposes as well as for visual appeal. In addition, Wisconsin Telephone Company officials reported that equipment installed would provide the most advanced communication system in the state, providing the state's "first touch-tone dial system in industry." Johnson Controls merged with Globe-Union in 1978 and moved its corporate headquarters to Globe's headquarters building in 1980.