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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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New Toledo battery plant makes first shipment to Sears, September 28, 1981

On September 28, 1981, the Toledo Blade reported that Johnson Controls' new battery plant in Toledo, Ohio had shipped out a few days earlier its first truckload of automotive batteries to several Ohio Sears stores. Eventually, the plant was to supply batteries to Sears stores in Indiana and Michigan as well. Johnson Controls was reported to have invested about $45 million in the new plant, which had begun limited production the previous April. By the end of 1981, the plant was producing 8,000 batteries a day. Only 1½ years later, in May 1983, the plant had shipped out battery number 1,000,000. Plant employees at the time of the first battery shipment numbered 69, but by the end of the year the number of employees was expected to be 125. Today, Johnson Controls still operates a battery plant in Toledo, with over 600 employees.